Detroit Tigers land Eduardo Rodriguez

Detroit Tigers land Eduardo Rodriguez

It is no secret the Detroit Tigers were one of the worst teams in all of Major League Baseball last season. Only three teams in the American League had a worse record than Detroit, who finished the season 77-85. However, things are already starting to look up for 2022 as the team announced on Monday that they have inked starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year deal worth $77 million.

“Eduardo was clearly one of our top targets in this year’s free-agent pitching class, and we are extremely happy to add someone of his caliber to our rotation,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Tuesday in a statement, via The Detroit Press. “There are a number of strong qualities that Eduardo brings to our ballclub, including his leadership abilities, and we look forward to the positive impact he will have on our team both on and off the field.”

The 28-year-old has plenty of experience pitching in the big leagues and spent the last six seasons with the Boston Red Sox after being traded from the Baltimore Orioles. He helped the Red Sox win a World Series in 2018 and is hoping to do the same in Detroit as well.

“I am excited to be a Tiger and appreciate the commitment being made to building a winning team in Detroit,” Rodriguez said Tuesday.  “After some great years in Boston with amazing fans and teammates, I am blessed to be coming into a new situation where the fans in Detroit are some of the best in baseball. In speaking with Al and [manager] AJ [Hinch], I knew this is a place that would be a good fit for me and my family. I can’t wait to join my new teammates and work towards a World Series title.”

The veteran opted to reject the qualifying offer extended to him by the Red Sox that would have seen him earn $18.4 million next season. Instead, he decided to sign a long-term deal that locks him up in Detroit for the next five years. Rodriguez does have an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to walk away from the deal after the second year. He also has a no-trade clause and could earn up to $3 million more in performance-related bonuses.

There was plenty of interest in the starting pitcher from other teams including the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels, who had both reportedly offered the left-hander multiple-year deals at last week’s general manager meetings in California. It wasn’t too long after the Tigers landed Rodriguez that the Blue Jays signed pitcher Jose Berrios to a seven-year extension worth $131 million. The Angels also made a move by signing free agent starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard to a one-year deal worth $21 million.

It remains to be seen how Rodriguez will perform in Detroit, but Tigers fans have to be excited that their team is signing free agents and seem interested in making a playoff push in 2022.