Trade Rumors: Tigers Starter Eduardo Rodriguez Should Be On The Atlanta Braves Radar

One of the more intriguing names on the trade market is Detroit Tigers starter, Eduardo Rodriguez. The lefty reliever is having one of his best seasons in 2023 and could be a big lift for the Braves who are hoping to contend for another World Series title.
Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Eduardo Rodriguez is one of the most interesting names ahead of this year's MLB trade deadline. Which might be why it makes a lot of sense for the Atlanta Braves.

Before the 2022 season, Rodriguez signed a 5 year, $77M deal with the Detroit Tigers. In that deal, there was an opt-out included after the 2023 season. With how his 2022 season went, it looked like it would make more sense for him to opt into the final 3 years. However, he has performed well in 2023 and it now feels certain that he will opt out and become a free agent this year.

This season, he has made 17 starts, throwing 88.1 innings, with a 2.95 ERA, 3.45 xERA, 3.18 FIP, 3.62 xFIP, and 3.74 SIERA. This includes a 25.9% strikeout rate and a 6.0% walk rate. He is not a bonafide Ace by any means, but he could serve as a low-end 2nd starter or number 3. For the Braves, he would easily slot in behind a healthy Max Fried and Spencer Strider. Add in Charlie Morton and that is a phenomenal four-man rotation for the postseason.

Rodriguez's Pitch Mix

Rodriguez throws five different pitches according to Baseball Savant:

Fastball (42.8%)- 92.3 MPH. .250 BA, .252 xBA, .375 SLG, .415 xSLG, .290 wOBA, .308 xwOBA, 90.8 EV, 23.7% Whiff 7 Run-Value

Cutter (21.7%)- 88.8 MPH. .148 BA, .238 xBA, .328 SLG, .480 xSLG, .232 wOBA, .329 xwOBA, 88.0 EV, 21.3% Whiff 6 Run-Value

Changeup (18.7%)- 86.2 MPH. .290 BA, .309 xBA, .339 SLG, .367 xSLG, .300 wOBA, .321 xwOBA, 77.4 EV, 33.1% Whiff -2 Run-Value

Sinker (10.0%)- 92.4 MPH. .146 BA, .175 xBA, .250 SLG, .295 xSLG, .209 wOBA, .239 xwOBA, 84.2 EV, 13.6% Whiff 0 Run-Value

Slider (6.8%)- 84.8 MPH. .087 BA, .087 xBA, .216 SLG, .131 xSLG, .145 wOBA, .116 xwOBA, 86.6 EV, 37.5% Whiff 3 Run-Value

How well is Rodriguez performing lately?

Rodriguez started off the season performing well through the first 11 games of the season. His ERA sat at 2.13 over 67.2 innings with 16 walks and 67 strikeouts. Opponents were batting just .205 against him and his FIP of 3.17 is impressive as well.

He suffered a finger injury on May 28th and didn't return to the mound until July 5th against the Oakland Athletics. In that start, he allowed 5 runs through just 4 innings of work with 0 walks and 7 strikeouts.

Since returning from the injured list, it has not been smooth sailing for Rodriguez. He has a 5.66 ERA through 20.2 innings. However, he has a 3.24 FIP and 3.78 xFIP. So, it appears to be some tough luck in that small sample size.

Either way, he is likely going to opt out this winter. He will certainly be able to find a deal that matches the 3 years of $49M left and he will most likelysurpass those numbers. Meaning the Tigers will probably only get the value of a rental in a trade.

On the flip side, while the Tigers can only get rental value from Rodriguez, teams still understand that an injury down the stretch could lead him to opt into the final 3 years. Meaning it could limit his value even more.

The Braves have the pieces to get it done. It will not cost as much as one might think given how he is pitching this year. The biggest issue will be there could be a minor bidding war for Rodriguez's services and the Braves may not want to get involved.

Adding Eduardo Rodriguez would give the Braves would of the best rotations in baseball going into the postseason. I am sure they have at least inquired about Rodriguez's availability. The team will just have to wait and see if they will find a way to make it happen or if they will go in another direction.