Detroit also announced that it has selected the contract of outfielder Matt Den Dekker. He’ll take the spot of Alex Presley, who’s headed to the 7-day concussion DL.
Rodriguez, now 35, was acquired from the Brewers before the 2016 season with one more year and an option left on his free-agent contract. He had shown signs of deterioration last year, but still gave the Tigers 58 1/3 innings of 3.24 ERA ball. That showing led the Tigers to pick up the extra year at $6MM, rather than spending $2MM on a buyout.
After years of mostly steady production, the veteran righty has fallen off badly thus far in 2017. Over 25 1/3 innings, he owns an unsightly 7.82 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Opposing hitters are driving home runs at a rate of more than one per every three innings, offering at pitches outside of the zone just 20% of the time (lowest in K-Rod’s career), and hitting grounders at only a 30.1% clip.
While the signs aren’t promising, that’s not to say other organizations won’t at least take a look at Rodriguez. He has a lifetime 2.86 ERA, was dominant as recently as 2015, and even in his diminished state has managed a 9.6% swinging-strike rate — though that’s well off his 12.4% career average. At this point, though, it seems likely that Rodriguez will need to spend some time at Triple-A working out the kinks before being asked to face major leaguers.