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Detroit Tigers Reportedly Kicking Off Major Signing Season, Nearing a Deal with Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (UPDATES)

Chicago Cubs

HELLO. A major signing in mid-November? Before the Qualifying Offer acceptance deadline even arrives? What is this, four years ago?

The Detroit Tigers are about to really kick off Hot Stove SZN:

Rodriguez, 29 in April, had some great under-the-hood numbers in 2021 after returning from a missed 2020 season (myocarditis after COVID), and he’s likely to get paid accordingly. He had already signaled that he was going to reject the Red Sox’s Qualifying Offer, and the signing by the Tigers will cost them only their third highest pick in the 2022 draft as a smaller-market club. It’s the built-in advantage they have. I will be very interested to see what kind of deal he gets.

I did not have the Cubs involved, primarily because I don’t see them going after the qualified starting pitchers when there are so many unqualified starting pitchers available. That sounds bad. I mean to say, pitchers attached or unattached to draft pick compensation by way of the qualifying offer.

The Detroit Tigers are a loaded young team that played .500-ish ball in the second half and has a veteran manager ready to lead the team in a corner turn, so they’re going to be aggressive in free agency. Anyone else get post-2014 Cubs vibes?

Bigger picture, does this say anything about the state of CBA talks? Are the Tigers (and Rodriguez) optimistic that things will proceed normally from here? Or are the Tigers (and Rodriguez) eager to get a deal done now in case a shutdown arrives in a couple weeks, throwing the market for a loop? As the questions imply: the signing doesn’t actually tell us much of anything at the moment, at least in isolation.

UPDATE: Interesting and surprising. The Tigers go long on the deal to lower the AAV, but still have to give an opt-out:

UPDATE 2: Wow, the opt out is after just the second year:

So Rodriguez locks down a healthy guarantee, but also a chance to hit the market again at age 30 if he breaks out further. In exchange, the Tigers get a reasonably low AAV on the deal (if he craps out the next couple years), and I’m gonna take a guess that the deal is also backloaded in real money.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.