Among the Detroit Tigers’ big moves this offseason, the ones designed to supplement their young core and help them turn the corner, was signing lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. The then 28-year-old lefty had youth, recent success, and projectable upside all working in his favor. He cost a draft pick to sign, but that was about the only thing working against him. It just made sense as a great move for almost any team at five years and $77 million.
But you can’t predict what you can’t predict. And what has happened since was certainly unpredictable, and apparently, also unknowable?
In mid-June, Rodriguez was placed on the Restricted List by the Tigers, for reasons that weren’t made entirely clear. The Restricted List is used when a player is away from the team for non-baseball reasons, and thus is often a very private thing. In my head, I just kinda wished him well and figured whatever was happening would resolve itself in less time than my curiosity about the Tigers would pop up again.
But then Tigers GM Al Avila said something that really caught me off guard: the Tigers haven’t even HEARD from Rodriguez since he left the team.
Because the issue remains personal, Avila wouldn’t get into whether the Tigers will seek to void Rodriguez’s deal.
The issue, per reports, is marital in nature, so again you just want to wish Rodriguez well in working through whatever is going on.
But to not even hear from the player for three weeks? After trying to contact him and not hearing back? In the middle of the season? It’s really odd. I don’t think I can recall a situation quite like this. We Cubs fans remember when Ben Zobrist took time away for his own marital reasons, but it wasn’t like he disappeared entirely from view or communications. The personal issues are nobody’s business but his own, but being entirely out of contact is more unsettling.
The Tigers have been a huge disappointment this year (34-47) thanks in no small part to the fact that their major offseason moves, including Rodriguez, have not panned out as hoped.