MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported this evening that the Diamondbacks have had “advanced discussions” with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Morosi notes that no deal has been finalized to this point, but Arizona is considered a finalist for the southpaw. The report comes on the heels of news earlier today that Rodriguez had narrowed his possible destination down to two teams. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, that other finalist for Rodriguez’s services is the Cincinnati Reds.
If a deal is completed, Rodriguez would immediately fortify the rotation of the reigning NL champions, providing the club with a third front-of-the-rotation caliber arm to pair with 2023 NL Cy Young award finalist Zac Gallen and veteran right-hander Merrill Kelly. Despite excellent performances from the club’s top two arms, who combined for a 3.39 ERA across 64 starts, the club’s overall rotation ranked just 21st in the majors last season with a 4.67 ERA. That’s thanks to a dearth of quality options behind Gallen and Kelly. Arizona relied on the likes of Brandon Pfaadt, Ryne Nelson, and Zach Davies in the rotation for much of the year, each of whom posted ERAs north of 5.00.
Adding Rodriguez to the mix should help either club’s run prevention efforts considerably. The 30-year-old southpaw enjoyed a career year in 2023 as a member of the Tigers, finishing the season with a 3.30 ERA and 3.66 FIP across 152 2/3 innings of work while striking out 23% of batters faced against a walk rate of just 7.7%. Those strong overall numbers on the season well may have been even stronger had Rodriguez managed to stay healthy all season, as the lefty cruised to a 2.13 ERA and a 25.5% strikeout rate across his first eleven starts of the season.
Unfortunately, Rodriguez subsequently suffered a ruptured pulley tendon at the end of May that wound up sidelining him for the entire month of June. Upon returning in early July, Rodriguez struggled to match his excellent first half performance. The southpaw delivered decent results, with a 4.24 ERA and 4.08 FIP over his final 85 frames, though his strikeout rate dipped to just 21.2% while his walk rate climbed to 8.9%. Fortunately, Rodriguez bounced back down the stretch to post a solid 3.60 ERA in September. Assuming the left-hander is fully healthy entering the 2024 campaign, he would be a strong addition to most any rotation in the majors.
More to come…