Free Agency Targets: Could the Mariners Pursue Eduardo Rodriguez?

Eduardo Rodriguez Mariners

Sep 13, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, the Boston Red Sox were eliminated from the postseason, signaling the start of free agency conversations surrounding key players such as J.D. Martinez, Christian Vazquez, and Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a left-handed starting pitcher with six seasons under his belt, could be on the Seattle Mariners’ radar as they look into solidifying their starting rotation this offseason.

Rodriguez, 28, carries a career 64-39 record, 4.16 ERA, and 1.313 WHIP into his first free agency, and is coming off of a decent 2021 season, posting a 13-8 record and 4.74 ERA as one of the Red Sox top starters this year. The high ERA is something of an anomaly in his young career, as he finished 2018 and 2019 with a 3.82 and 3.81 ERA, respectively, and finished 6th in AL Cy Young voting after the 2019 season.

Eduardo Rodriguez fits a need on the Mariners roster, but is he the right free agent pitcher to pursue?

The Seattle Mariners, armed with mostly right-handed pitchers on their major league roster and in their minor league system, could be looking into bringing aboard a left-handed starter (especially with postseason experience) this offseason to help balance out their rotation. Carlos Rodon and Robbie Ray are the most high-profile lefty starters on the market this winter, but Rodriguez is likely in line for a considerable pay-day as well.

The biggest concern with Rodriguez, in my opinion, is his career 1.313 WHIP (walks + hits per innings pitched, for the casual fan), and 1.389 WHIP this season; if you take a look at Rodon and Ray, they are both coming off seasons with WHIPs hovering right around 1.0. Allowing baserunners at the rate Rodriguez does is certainly cause for doubt when considering his future outlook, but his career-high 10.6 K/9 in 2021 was a big factor in helping him escape jams.

When examining a potential contract offer for Rodon earlier this month, I projected around 4 years and $80 million, similar to what Hyun Jin Ryu signed in Toronto after an outstanding 2019. In regard to Rodriguez, who has solid career numbers but coming off of a down 2021, I’d expect him to sign something close to a 4-year, $60 million deal, and certainly with a playoff contender.

What do you think, Mariners fans – would E-Rod be worth the investment?