Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has undergone a significant knee surgery, per a team announcement. Specifically, he had a patellofemoral ligament reconstruction performed on his right knee. The joint has been a source of problems for Rodriguez for some time, though he was able to turn in a mostly complete 2017 season.
Per the announcement, it is expected that Rodriguez will not be able to resume pitching for around six months. That would put him on course to be ready by mid-April of next year, though of course he’ll need some time to build up into full game condition. Accordingly, it seems clear he won’t be available for the club for some time early in the 2018 campaign.
That will leave Boston looking for options to fill out the rotation at the start of the year, though perhaps the club will feel confident enough in Rodriguez’s return that it will be happy with a shorter-term fill-in. The Sox are also hoping that Steven Wright will be back at full strength, potentially providing another option to join a rotation that’ll feature Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. But there’s now rather clearly some cause for the team to pursue added depth — if not even to go ahead and add a full-time starter if a reasonable opportunity arises.
Rodriguez, 24, has steadily provided Boston with good innings over the past three seasons — when he has been available. While he has yet to take more than 24 starts in a given campaign, and hasn’t yet taken a final step to producing dominant results, Rodriguez is quite a valuable asset and still seems capable of more.
In 2017, Rodriguez threw a personal high of 137 1/3 innings, working to a solid 4.19 ERA. While he recorded 9.8 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, he also surrendered 1.25 home runs per nine. ERA estimators all landed in range of his actual results, but perhaps there’s still another gear for a pitcher who has steadily increased his swinging-strike rate (most recently, 11.6%) and managed to produce despite a series of lower-body issues. Surprisingly, he has maintained rather pronounced reverse platoon splits in the majors; beyond getting healthy, then, perhaps the biggest challenge Rodriguez faces is to find a way to tamp down on the .270/.338/.447 batting line that southpaw swingers have put up against him.