Just before 11:00 PM eastern news broke that the Arizona Diamondbacks inked left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year deal worth roughly $20 million per season.
Since the Sonny Gray deal, the starting pitching market has been rather slow. Even Erick Fedde was receiving the “mystery team” tweets. That’s how thirsty we all were for news and that thirst was quenched Wednesday night with the E-Rod news.
In 2023 Rodriguez posted a career best 3.30 ERA and emerged as the ace of a depleted Detroit staff. A miraculous start (2.64 first half ERA) not only had his name embedded in All-Star discussions but also trade rumors. A bizarre situation happened on deadline day where Rodriguez elected to shut down a trade that would send him to the Dodgers as he did not want to go to the west coast.
Well, he’s now in Arizona. The Diamondbacks have a solid top two with All-Star Zack Gallen and Merrill Kelly, but lacked established starters in the rest of the rotation. Rodrgiuez brings a veteran presence and a much-needed lefty to the rotation.
Although Kelly does not look like he’s slowing down, he is a sneaky 35 years old so Rodriguez’s four-year deal will ensure a veteran will be in the rotation for years to come.
I’d expect E-Rod to post numbers closer to his second half – 3.89 ERA and 1.28 WHIP- than his first half simply because they align with his career norm.
Regardless, that’s the perfect number three for the Diamondbacks rotation that also includes Brandon Pfraadt, who took steps forward last year and has a high ceiling.
You can piece together the fifth spot with a combination of Ryne Nelson, another addition, or perhaps prospect Blake Walston later in the season.
Diamondbacks fans should be excited. Not only did you just experience the best season in years, but the team is actively adding to improve. It will always be an arms race in the National League West so there’s no time to slow down. You can put a big check mark on the offseason list, but don’t forget about the other needs. The jobs not done.
Arizona still has to either re-sign Lourdes Gurriel Jr. or find a replacement for him out in left field. They did trade for Eugenio Suarez to shore up third base, but adding another veteran bat to replace the production they are losing with Gurriel and even midseason addition Tommy Pham would go a long way.
If the Diamondbacks are really serious about defending their NL crown, continuing to add depth to their starting rotation, as well as their bullpen would go a long way.
While Eduardo Rodriguez was not the best starting pitcher left on the board, he is the first one to move and the Diamondbacks were wise to make sure they were the team he landed with so they weren’t left waiting on other options that might not have come.
Between Suarez and Rodriguez, GM Mike Hazen is well on his way to a very successful offseason coming off their World Series run.