Eduardo Rodriguez opens up about leaving Red Sox, signing with Tigers

Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers

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Eduardo Rodriguez is setting the record straight about leaving the Boston Red Sox for the Detroit Tigers.

Addressing the media for the first time as a Detroit Tigers pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez discussed the basics of switching teams.

Would he continue wearing No. 57? Yes, it’s a tribute to Johan Santana. Would he miss his Red Sox teammates? Of course, especially Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vázquez, and Rafael Devers, who “are like brothers to him,” though he also noted that he plans to strike them all out when the Sox play the Tigers next year.

But the most notable points of discussion were about his decision to leave the team he’s pitched for his entire big-league career, and one of the biggest takeaways was that he essentially refuted the fact that the Red Sox had offered him a serious multi-year deal.

Eduardo Rodriquez says Red Sox didn’t talk long-term contract with pitcher

According to Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Rodriguez said that he had “never discussed years of a potential contract” with his longtime team, but that the Tigers “made the offer he wanted.” This largely contradicts the report by Jon Heyman that the Red Sox had offered Rodriguez a multi-year deal as well as the $18.4 million qualifying offer.

But the truly damning quote was Rodriguez’s response to a question about the qualifying offer:

“I’ll be honest with you. Do you prefer 18 or 77?”

The “77” refers to the $77 million deal the Tigers signed Rodriguez to last week. It’s a five-year deal with a player opt-out after 2023, certainly more years and money than the Sox were ever going to offer him.

While Rodriguez didn’t explicitly say that the Red Sox hadn’t offered him a multi-year deal, it’s not difficult to glean from what he did say. It also wouldn’t be the first time President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom waxed poetic to the media and then did the exact opposite behind the scenes.

When longtime centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. became a free agent after the 2020 season, Bloom raved about him to the media and spoke about bringing him back. Bradley then told the media no one from the Red Sox had spoken to him, and eventually, he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Popular utility player Brock Holt said that no one from the Red Sox even called him when he hit free agency after the 2019 season. This method of doing business won’t make Bloom popular with or trusted by players who see their futures spoken about in the papers before they hear from their boss directly.

It’s impossible to know exactly what went down between Rodriguez and the Red Sox. He doesn’t seem to have ill will towards the franchise with whom he won a ring in 2018, but he’s not looking back, either:

“For me, I feel like now it’s time to move on,” Rodriguez said.

The Red Sox now have to try to replace him and do the same.

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