The Boston Red Sox are coming off of a strong 2021 campaign in which the team reached the ALCS.
Although Boston’s didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning it all, the club certainly exceeded expectations and gave its fans a fun year of baseball.
The Red Sox are hoping to return as contenders in 2022 and take the next step.
It figures to be a busy offseason for Boston.
The future of Eduardo Rodriguez is one thing that the team needs to sort out.
It has been known for a little while that the Red Sox want to re-sign Rodriguez, but according to a recent report, it sounds like a backup plan has emerged in the form of Steven Matz.
“I think they’ll also re-sign Eduardo Rodríguez or pivot to another similar starter, such as Steven Matz,” reported Jim Bowden of The Athletic.
Here are some takeaways from this report.
A Lefty For A Lefty
If the Red Sox do end up signing Matz and letting Rodriguez walk, they’ll have replaced one southpaw with another.
Moreover, Rodriguez and Matz are somewhat comparable pitchers from a talent and production perspective, so the idea of replacing one with the other makes a lot of sense.
Let’s take a look at what Matz accomplished in 2021.
Over 29 starts with the Toronto Blue Jays, he posted a 3.82 ERA, 3.79 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP.
Down the stretch of the regular season, when the Blue Jays needed all hands on deck for their playoff push, Matz rose to the occasion.
He registered a 2.69 ERA over his final 11 outings.
Unfortunately, Toronto wound up narrowly missing the postseason, but it certainly had nothing to do with Matz’ performance.
Free-agent lefthander Steven Matz was at the GM meetings yesterday to meet with some teams interested in signing him. The Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers and Cardinals are among those in on him. He might sign this month, before the CBA expires.
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) November 11, 2021
Now, let’s take a look at what Rodriguez accomplished in 2021.
On the surface, it might seem like Rodriguez had a very poor campaign, but according to some of his predictive metrics, he performed well based on the things within his control.
For example, he finished with a 4.74 ERA, which is obviously bad, but he also had a 3.32 FIP, which stands as the best mark of his career so far.
When a pitcher’s ERA is substantially higher than his FIP, that’s usually a pretty good indication that luck hasn’t been on the pitcher’s side, and it’s also usually a sign that there are better days ahead.
Matz’s Track Record Vs. Rodriguez’s Track Record
Let’s compare Matz’s resume to Rodriguez’s.
Matz, 30, has been in the big leagues for seven seasons.
Overall, he has a 4.24 ERA, 4.34 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP.
He also has a career ERA+ of 96, which is slightly below the league average of 100.
Rodriguez, 28, has been in the majors for six seasons.
He’s got a career ERA of 4.16, FIP of 3.83, and WHIP of 1.31.
Eduardo Rodríguez, Filthy Two Pitch Sequence (88mph Cutter & 84mph Changeup). And Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/BJ86QQIndD
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2021
He edges Matz in the ERA+ category by a pretty solid margin, as Rodriguez has a lifetime ERA+ of 110.
Overall, these two guys are on pretty similar tiers, but depending on which stats you put stock into, you could definitely argue that Rodriguez is a superior arm.
It seems like Boston would rather keep Rodriguez than go out and sign a newcomer, and justifiably so.
But at the end of the day, Matz would be a solid addition for the Red Sox if Rodriguez ends up signing elsewhere.