Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and the Detroit Tigers are in agreement on a five-year deal with between $77 million and $80 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2021
It’s arguably the biggest splash of the offseason so far.
Unfortunately for Boston, it’s far from good news.
The Red Sox were hoping to retain Rodriguez, but the Tigers wanted the lefty’s services more.
Boston now finds itself in a situation where it has a rotation spot to fill.
Here’s how the club could go about doing so.
Option No. 1: Sign A Free-Agent Starter Of Rodriguez’s Caliber
Going into the offseason, the Red Sox reportedly wanted to keep Rodriguez OR sign a pitcher of a similar caliber.
Now that re-signing Rodriguez is off the table, Boston will presumably look into some other free agents.
Steven Matz is a guy that some analysts believe the Red Sox might pursue.
Matz is coming off of a really solid 2021 season in which he posted a 3.82 ERA, 3.79 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP across 29 outings.
For what it’s worth, he also posted an impressive 14-7 record.
Matz, who’s 30 years old, is a lefty, so it would make a lot of sense for the Red Sox to replace one southpaw with another.
We’ll see if the two sides end up striking a deal.
Matz isn’t the only viable option, though.
Option No. 2: Roll The Dice On Tanner Houck
The Red Sox have a very exciting young arm in Tanner Houck.
Over 86.0 innings of work at the MLB level, the 25-year-old has a 2.93 ERA.
BIG pitch by Tanner Houck!
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) September 25, 2021
Houck has made 16 big-league starts, and the results have been pretty solid.
But in 2021, Boston seemed more inclined to use him out of the bullpen.
Here’s why: When he was used as a starter in 2021, Houck had a hard time going deep into games.
That had a lot to do with his shallow pitch arsenal.
For much of the year, he only really had confidence in two pitches — a fastball and slider.
But here’s the good news: Near the end of the season, the righty started developing a really promising splitter.
If that pitch is going to be a part of his repertoire going forward, there’s a chance he could be ready to take on a role in the starting rotation.
Option No. 3: Make A Big Splash
This option seems far less likely than the other two, but it’s worth touching on.
This free-agent class is loaded with elite starting pitchers.
If the Red Sox really want to put the league on notice, they could make a run at a free-agent ace.
Financially, the Red Sox are probably going to choose to go in a different direction, but Boston’s rotation would certainly become a lot more intimidating if the team added one of those aforementioned arms.