What the Colorado Rockies can learn from the Detroit Tigers’ signing of Eduardo Rodríguez
The Detroit Tigers made the first big move of the offseason on Monday when they agreed to terms with former Boston Red Sox left-handed starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez on a five-year deal for $77 million, or an average annual value of $15.4 million per season. Additionally, Rodríguez will have an opt-out after year two (the 2023 season). That move will help the Colorado Rockies in a roundabout way, though.
It will help the Rockies because they will be able to better see what the value for Jon Gray will be.
The Colorado Rockies will see that Jon Gray is worth more than what they offered to him.
As we discussed in this article, the Colorado Rockies low-balled Jon Gray with their offer at the end of the season, which was reportedly a three-year deal for between $35 and $40 million.
Eduardo Rodríguez is a year and a half younger than Gray is but they have similar numbers.
- Eduardo Rodríguez: 4.16 ERA, 159 appearances (153 starts), 110 ERA+, 1.313 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 14.6 fWAR, 15.4 rWAR
- Jon Gray: 4.59 ERA, 152 games (151 starts), 107 ERA+, 1.338 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 15.7 fWAR, 11.0 rWAR
Given that Rodríguez is younger and has shown a higher ceiling than Gray, he will likely get the bigger contract. After all, in 2019, Rodríguez came in 6th in AL Cy Young voting after he had a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA in 34 starts. Rodríguez has had his fair share of injuries, like Gray, as 2019 was the first season in his career that he had more than 24 starts at the MLB level.
MLB Trade Rumors ranked Rodríguez as the 14th-best free agent this offseason and they predicted that he’d get a five-year deal for $70 million (so they were pretty close). They ranked Gray at #19 and predicted he would get four years and $56 million.
If the Rodríguez deal is any indication, Gray will likely get slightly more than that prediction for the AAV. But a four-year deal for $60 million (give or take) is not particularly close to the Rockies offer.
With Rodríguez signing, the Rockies now see that they will have to up significantly up their offer to Jon Gray if they want to keep him. If not, there will be some team that will give him an offer for a better deal for Gray.