Eduardo Rodriguez (rodried05)
Eduardo Jose Rodriguez Hernandez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
Eduardo Rodriguez made his major league debut in 2015.
Rodriguez was signed by Baltimore Orioles scout Calvin Maduro in 2010. He went 3-4 with a 2.33 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 65 2/3 IP that summer for the DSL Orioles 1. In 2011, he appeared for the GCL Orioles (1-1, Sv, 1.81, 46 K in 44 2/3 IP, .177 opponent average) and the Aberdeen Ironbirds (3 R in 4 IP). Baseball America rated him as the #18 prospect in the Gulf Coast League, between Victor De Leon and Austin Brice. At age 19 in 2012, he was playing full-season ball, going 5-7 with a 3.70 ERA for the Delmarva Shorebirds. Baseball America listed him as the fifth-best prospect in the Orioles system. He opened 2013 well with the Frederick Keys (6-4, 2.85), earning a promotion to AA and a spot in the 2013 Futures Game.
In the 2013 Futures Game, Rodriguez relieved Rafael De Paula in the bottom of the 6th with a 3-2 deficit against the USA. He retired Brandon Nimmo, Christian Walker and Chris Owings in order (Owings on a strikeout). Miguel Almonte replaced him in the 7th. He finished the season with the Bowie BaySox, where he went 4-3, 4.22 in 11 games. Back at Bowie in 2014, he suffered a setback when he injured his knee lifting weights and as a result was only 3-7, 4.79 in 16 games when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox on July 31st in return for major league lefthanded reliever Andrew Miller. He was outstanding in 6 starts for the Portland Sea Dogs after the trade, going 3-1 with a minute 0.96 ERA to end the season at 6-8, 3.60; he struck out 108 batters in 120 innings. He was sent to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox to begin the 2015 season, and in his first 8 starts put up a record of 4-3, 2.98 to earn a call-up to the Show.
Rodriguez made his major league debut with Boston on May 28, 2015 as the starting pitcher against the Texas Rangers. It was a successful one as he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings to receive credit for a 5-1 win. At 22, he was the youngest Red Sox starter to win his debut on the road since 21-year-old Billy Rohr's memorable first game on April 14, 1967, when he came within one out of pitching a no-hitter. In the intervening years, the only younger pitcher to debut as a starter on the road for the Sox had been Roger Clemens, who was also 21 in 1984, but who had to settle for a no-decision. He followed that initial start with another very solid performance, as in the first game of a doubleheader, he gave up 1 run on 2 hits in 7 innings at home against the Minnesota Twins to pick up another win. He was the first pitcher since at least 1900 to begin his career with two starts of at least 7 innings in which he gave up 3 hits or less and 1 run or less in both starts. The Red Sox had originally planned to send him back to the minors after the two games, but his strong showing changed their thinking. After a third straight strong start in which he held the Baltimore Orioles scoreless over 6 innings but did not figure in the decision on the 9th, he ran into a juggernaut on June 14th, however, as the red hot Toronto Blue Jays extended their winning streak to 11 games at his expense by jumping on him for 9 runs in 4 2/3 innings. He stayed in the starting rotation for the rest of the season and became the first Red Sox rookie to win 10 games since John Curtis in 1972. He finished the year at 10-6, 3.85 in 21 starts and 121 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox improved greatly in 2016, being in the postseason race all year, but Rodriguez found the going rougher, missing a lot of time to injuries and seeing his name in the win column only rarely. On September 4th, he pitched the best game of his career against the Oakland Athletics, but had little to show for hit. He held the A's hitless for 7 innings, then got two more outs in the 8th when he lost his no-hitter on a very close play that required a video review: Marcus Semien hit a ground ball off his leg, Eduardo picked it up and threw to first base. Umpire Laz Diaz called the runner out, but the A's appealed and the call was reversed, giving Semien a hit. He got the final out of the inning, then left the game, but unfortunately his teammates had failed to score any runs for him and Boston lost the game, 1-0, on a double by Khris Davis off Craig Kimbrel in the 9th. On September 25th, he matched a career high with 13 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, but had to settle for a no-decision as the Sox won in the 10th inning, their 11th straight win. His strikeouts were part of a record 21 registered by Boston's pitchers through the first nine innings, and he left the game while the Sox were in the middle of a stretch of recording 11 consecutive strikeouts, for another major league record. He finished the year at 3-7, 4.71 in 20 starts and did not pitch in the postseason.
In 2017, he again spent most of the season in the starting rotation as the Red Sox won another division title, but again there were fewer wins than expected. In 25 games, 24 of which were starts, he was 6-7, 4.19 with 150 strikeouts in 137 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to knee problems, leading to off-season surgery. He made his postseason debut in Game 2 of the ALDS on October 6th against the Houston Astros, but he failed to retire anyone. He came in to start the bottom of the 6th as the Sox's fourth pitcher with his team trailing 4-1, and allowed a single to Marwin Gonzalez before hitting Brian McCann with a pitch and giving way to Addison Reed. Once again, the Red Sox exited at the Division Series stage. 2018 was different though, as the Red Sox had one of the greatest seasons in their long history, and Eduardo went 13-5, 3.82 as the fourth starter. Apart from the win/loss record, his season was similar to this first three ones, though, with 27 games, 23 starts, 129 2/3 innings and 146 strikeouts; the difference was that he was pitching in front of a team that couldn't lose. He pitched in all three rounds of the postseason, although only one of his seven appearances was as a starter, in Game 4 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was roughed up for 3 runs in 1 2/3 innings in a relief appearance against the New York Yankees in a 6-2 loss in Game 2 of the Division Series, but then did not give up a run in his next 5 outings, the first four of which came in wins. In his lone start on October 27th, the game was scoreless through the first five innings, then he fell apart in the 6th, allowing 4 runs capped by a three-run homer by Yasiel Puig. However, the Red Sox mounted a huge comeback, scoring 9 runs over the last three innings to win the game, 9-6, on their way to a fourth World Championship since breaking the "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004.
In 2019, he had a breakout season even as the Red Sox fell back to earth. With their three top starters - Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello - all running into problems, he became the team's ace, going 19-6, 3.81 in an American League-leading 34 starts. He reached two milestones for the first time: 200 innings (he pitched 203 1/3) and 200 strikeouts (he notched 213). The one blemish was that he led the league with 75 walks. He finished 6th in the voting for the Cy Young Award, his first time receiving any consideration on that front. However, he was unable to build on this in 2020 as he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus before the season, then developed a heart condition - myocarditis - after recovering. Doctors told him he was expected to make a full recovery, but he first needed extensive rest and would need to sit out the season. Speaking of the virus, he told reporters: "I've never been that sick in my life, and I don’t want to get that sick again."
He was able to return for spring training in 2021. He was scheduled to be the Red Sox's opening day starter, but a week before that, on March 26th, he was scratched due to what manager Alex Cora characterized as a "dead arm". He made his season's debut on April 8th and was a winner, defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 7-3, in the Birds' home opener at Camden Yards. On July 23rd, Rodríguez exited a start against the New York Yankees in the 2nd inning due to migraine symptoms. However, overall, it was a successful season as he led Boston in wins while going 13-8, 4.74 and striking out 185 in 157 2/3 innings. His first postseason start, against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the Division Series on October 7th, did not go well as he did not complete the 2nd inning and was charged with his team's 5-0 loss, but his next two starts were a lot better: he gave up 2 runs in 5 innings in Game 4 of the same series, then won Game 3 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros while giving up 3 runs in 6 innings, being one of the few starters during that postseason to be credited with a quality start.
Eduardo became a free agent after the 2021 season and on November 15th of that year signed the first big contract of the off-season, inking a five-year deal with the Detroit Tigers worth $77 million, with a possible opt-out after two years. He was joining an up-and-coming team with some promising young pitchers, but one that also needed a veteran with postseason experience like him. He went 1-3, 4.38 over his first 8 starts, then went on the injured list on May 18th with a rib cage injury. He was closed to returning on June 13th when he was placed on the restricted list, apparently over a marital issue. On July 6th, Tigers GM Al Avila told reporters that the team had had no contact with the prized pitcher for the past three weeks as he had failed to respond to messages sent to him. He returned to action on August 21st and finished the year at 5-5, 4.05 in 17 starts, logging 91 innings. In 2022, he was 6-5, 2.95 in 15 starts through the end of July when the Tigers attempted to deal him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trading deadline but he decided to exercise his no-trade clause and veto the deal, leaving the Dodgers empty-handed. Speculation was that he would exercise an opt-out clause to get out of the final three years of his contract after the season, thus becoming a high-demand free agent.
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2019)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2019)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2019)
- Won one World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018
- Jack Baer: "Tigers GM says team hasn't heard from $77 million pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez in 3 weeks", Yahoo! Sports, July 6, 2022. 
- Jason Beck: "E-Rod invokes no-trade clause, vetoes Dodgers trade", mlb.com, August 1, 2023. 
- Ian Browne: "Recovering E-Rod eager to find pre-injury form: Talented lefty coming off surgery to repair troublesome knee", mlb.com, February 2, 2018. 
- Ian Browne: "After year away, E-Rod has successful return: Cora: 'Just happy he's going to be on the mound'", mlb.com, March 5, 2021. 
- Chris Cwik: "Tigers make big free-agent splash, sign Eduardo Rodriguez to five-year, $77 million deal", Yahoo! Sports, November 15, 2021. 
- Michael Guzman: "The lowdown on free-agent lefty E-Rod", mlb.com, November 12, 2021.