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Eduardo Rodriguez and Arizona Diamondbacks agree to $80 million, 4-year deal, AP source says

BY DAVID BRANDT contributing

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez have agreed to an $80 million, four-year contract, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the team had not announced the move.

Rodriguez gives the National League champions another quality starter for their rotation. The 30-year-old left-hander spent the past two seasons with the Detroit Tigers and went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 2023.

He spent his first six seasons with the Boston Red Sox and had his best year in 2019, going 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 34 starts.

Rodriguez joins a Diamondbacks rotation that includes NL Cy Young Award finalist Zac Gallen, veteran Merrill Kelly and youngsters like righty Brandon Pfaadt and lefty Tommy Henry.

ESPN first reported Rodriguez and the Diamondbacks had reached a deal.

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Eduardo Rodriguez signs with Diamondbacks: NL champs add to solid rotation on four-year, $80M deal, per report

Rodriguez opted out of the final three years and $49 million of his Tigers contract

            Mike Axisa

By Mike Axisa of cbs sports.com

The Diamondbacks have added a significant piece to their rotation. Arizona and free-agent left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez have agreed to a four-year contract worth $20 million a year, reports ESPN and the New York Post. The contract includes a fifth year vesting option that can push the total value to $100 million. The team has not yet announced the signing.

Rodriguez, 31 in April, became a free agent after opting out of the final three years and $49 million remaining on his contract with the Detroit Tigers. That came after Rodriguez used his no-trade clause to veto a deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline. At the time, he indicated he didn’t want to relocate his family in the middle of the season.

This past season, this second in Detroit, Rodriguez pitched to a 3.30 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings around a finger injury. He succeeds more by limiting hard contact than racking up big strikeout totals, an approach that has served him very well. Rodriguez also tends to pitch deep into games. He averaged 5.9 inning per start in 2023, well above the 5.1 league average.

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Rodriguez the No. 7 free agent available this offseason, and No. 4 among full-time pitchers. Here’s his write-up:

It’s a shame most people will remember Rodriguez’s season for what didn’t happen — the deadline deal to the Dodgers that he vetoed using his no-trade clause — rather than what did: him reasserting himself as an above-average starter. Rodriguez showed improved velocity (up about half a tick) and bat-missing ability throughout the 2023 season. He shuffled his repertoire, too, ditching his sinker to lean more heavily on a three-pitch mix that included his low-90s four-seam fastball, a cutter he can command to both sides of the plate, and a changeup that led the way in whiffs. Rodriguez will turn 31 in April, and he seems like a reasonably safe bet to remain a mid-rotation starter for at least the next few seasons. 

Along with Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, Rodriguez will give the D-backs a very strong top three for their rotation. All three eat innings at an above-average rate. Impressive rookie Brandon Pfaadt figures to hold down the No. 4 spot. Arizona will have to figure out their No. 5 starter, but they have more than two months to do so before spring training.

This is the second significant addition for the D-backs this offseason. They added slugging third baseman Eugenio Suárez in a three-player trade with the Seattle Mariners a few weeks ago. Arizona could still use a DH and it seems unlikely they are done this offseason. Among others, they have been connected to veteran Justin Turner in recent weeks.

Because he received the qualifying offer previously in his career, the Tigers could not make Rodriguez the QO this offseason, meaning he was not tied to draft pick compensation. The Tigers will not receive compensation for losing him to free agency and his new team will not have to forfeit any draft picks or international bonus pool money.

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The D-backs went 84-78 this past season, though they reached the postseason as the third wild-card spot and went through the Milwaukee Brewers, Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies to win the second pennant in franchise history.

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