He was signed to give the Rockies a little bit more depth both in the bullpen and in the starting rotation. As of now, the Rockies are treating him as a starter so he will be in the mix for the fifth starter spot along with fellow newcomer Austin Gomber, Ryan Castellani, and Chi Chi Gonzalez. Gomber, though, at least to start spring training, looks to have the edge since he has had the most success in the majors thus far.
However, Rodriguez may factor into the bullpen but either way, he is happy to be with the Rockies. Part of that is because, last year, under first-year manager Gabe Kapler and with the COVID restrictions and two spring trainings, Rodriguez said that he never seemed to get locked in with the team.
"The first spring training, I felt like I had a good camp,” said Rodriguez to the media, including Rox Pile, via Zoom on Saturday. “I had a strong showing. And then COVID hits so they did late to season and then when we showed up to (Spring Training) 2.0 in San Francisco [and] it was a little different, you know. Things were run a little bit differently.”"
Part of that was that the Giants had their entire 60-man roster pool there so Rodriguez, who had pitched in the majors with the Giants in 2018 and 2019, said that he had never even seen some of the guys there at Spring Training 2.0 in July.
"“I know the way the Giants worked last year and the year before that, they were using everybody,” said Rodriguez. “If there were 35 pitchers and that 60 man roster, they we’re gonna try and use them all so it was a little weird last year.”"
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He alluded to some of the issues stemming from Gabe Kapler since Rodriguez indicated that he had a very good relationship with Bruce Bochy.
"“I know it just felt different [last year],” said Rodriguez. “It wasn’t what we were used to. It wasn’t what I was used to. I was there when when (Bruce Bochy) was there and he would let you know really ahead of time if you’re going to get into a game. As a starter, you were a starter and a reliever, you were a reliever. I feel like last year was a little different. You could have been starting one game and then relieving the next game and back and forth so it was it was a little weird.”"
He only had two outings all year for the Giants last year so Rodriguez said that he was very happy to join the Rockies for more than one reason.
"“Needless to say, I’m excited for a fresh start,” said Rodriguez. “I’m excited for a fresh start with the Rockies. I’ve always been a big fan of this organization this team. You know, I made my debut in Coors Field so I’ve got a little soft spot for that field so it’ll be fun. I’m excited and, yeah, it sounds good. It’s a brand new opportunity.”"
That’s part of the reason why that Rodriguez signed with the Rockies but he said that, unlike most pitchers, he loves pitching at Coors Field. He said that he “likes the challenge” of pitching at Coors and he even said that he “always wanted the ball” when he came to Coors as a visitor “because it’s fun” to pitch at Coors. He also said he liked Coors because Rockies fans were “fun and great fans [who were] always into the game.”
In his second appearance at Coors Field, his dad, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, and his mom were able to be in attendance as well. In three appearances (two starts) at Coors Field, Rodriguez has pitched very well as he has a 1.88 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 14 1/3 IP with 16 strikeouts.
The Rockies are hoping that Rodriguez will be able to sustain that Coors Field success and if he can win a job with the team during spring training, he just may be able to prove it.