Red Sox: Why Eduardo Rodriguez may have pitched his way out of Boston

Boston Red Sox (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

After missing the 2020 season due to complications with COVID-19, it was unknown how Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez would perform in 2021 and how long it would take him to regain his 2019 form.

In 2019, he had a career-season and was one of the most efficient pitchers in the Red Sox rotation with a record of 19-6 and an ERA of 3.81 while punching out 213 batters.

Going into this 2021 season, Rodriguez had just signed a one-year contract worth $8.3 million and was hoping to show the Red Sox front office why they should sign him long-term.

Since Chris Sale wasn’t expected to return to the team until around July due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery, fans were hoping for Rodriguez to be the “fill-in” ace in the rotation and show a glimpse of his dominant stuff that he showed in 2019.

That hasn’t been the case thus far as this season has been a rollercoaster for Rodriguez as he’s been one of the most unlucky pitchers in the league. When you take a quick glance at his standard statistics during this season, you would think that he’s had a bad season, but it’s mainly been a lot of bad luck rather than him performing poorly.

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Boston Red Sox have much to consider in re-signing Eduardo Rodriguez

Looking deeper into the statistics, he has a career high of strikeouts per 9 innings of 10.7 and has tied his career low of walks per 9 innings with 2.7.

One area that’s been killing him is allowing runnings on base and it shows since he’s allowed a career high of hits per 9 innings of 9.8, compared to in 2019 when he only allowed 8.6 hits per 9 innings. Opposing hitters also have a BABIP of .358 against Rodriguez this season, which shows that he’s  had terrible luck when it comes to untimely hits and allowing weak contact.

Rodriguez’s performances have been very inconsistent throughout this season as well and that could impact the possibility that the Red Sox will trust him in the rotation long-term. Especially since pitching will be the Red Sox number one priority this offseason since their pitching staff is currently ranked 16th in the MLB with an overall ERA of 4.31. The Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom will have to make a lot of tough decisions since the Red Sox have a lot of money to spend.

According to Spotrac, the Red Sox currently have $66,775,000 to spend and it could be even more if they decline Garrett Richards’ team option of $10 million as well as Kyle Schwarber’s mutual option of $11 million.

Boston Red Sox options to replace Eduardo Rodriguez

The 2022 free agency pool is filled with a lot of high-profile position players, but lacks the high-profile pitching options. Two potential options that fit within the Red Sox budget came to mind in Marcus Stroman and Jon Gray.

Marcus Stroman currently has the 7th best ERA in the MLB of 2.85 and has been very impressive for the Mets throughout this season. He’d be a perfect No. 2 starter in the Red Sox rotation and also fits within their budget.

According to Spotrac, Stroman has a market value of $15,661,500 and would be a good fit for a 2-3 year deal as he’s going into his age-31 season.

Jon Gray on the other hand is a little bit younger than Stroman since he’s going to be 30 next season and could be looking for a little more money since this is his first time hitting the free agency market, but still could be looking for similar money since he’s had a down season. He’s not having as good of a season as Stroman as he’s sporting an ERA of 4.13 and has a record 7-10.

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Both players would be a great option to replace Eduardo Rodriguez in the BostonRed Sox rotation next season, but I still could see the team re-sign Rodriguez since he has such good relationships with the guys in the clubhouse and could be a cheap option after his less than stellar season.

Throughout the rest of September, Rodriguez will be looking to show Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox front office that he should stay in Boston.