MLB: Detroit Tigers make first splash in free agency

The Detroit Tigers made the first major splash in the 2021-22 MLB offseason, agreeing to terms with left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez on a five-year contract worth $77 million, with another $3 million to be earned via incentives.

The former member of the Boston Red Sox’s rotation is the Tigers’ first major signing in what is shaping up to be a busy offseason for them. They are expected to be heavy players in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes, competing with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and others.

Boston reportedly wanted to retain Rodriguez, but were unwilling to go five years while Detroit decided to take that risk. E-Rod, still 28, should remain a good, effective pitcher for most, if not all, of his contract, provided he stays healthy.

Over his MLB career, Rodriguez has been hurt some, but has never had to deal with severe arm issues, softening the blow of potential risk. His 2021 ERA wasn’t particularly good, at 4.74, but other run-prevention metrics say he was a much better pitcher.

One of MLB’s most underrated lefties

For example, his FIP was 3.32, and his expected ERA (3.55), expected FIP (3.43) and SIERA (3.64) also told a very different story than his ERA.

In other words, with a good defense behind him, Rodriguez could look much, much better than he did at times with Boston in 2021.

As a pitcher, E-Rod gets a lot of strikeouts (career 24.4 strikeout percentage, 27.4 percent in 2021) and usually gets deep into games. He is arriving to a good, up-and-coming team with other talented hurlers such as Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, and Spencer Turnbull (currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery).

MLB free agency is just starting, and most of the big fish remain in the market: Correa, Trevor Story, Javier Baez, Marcus Semien, Justin Verlander, Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Robbie Ray, Carlos Rodon, Raisel Iglesias, and many more.

The problem is that MLB owners will likely lockout players starting on early December, as some ugly rounds of CBA negotiations loom.

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