The Red Sox and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez have an arbitration hearing set for this coming Wednesday, the pitcher himself revealed upon arriving to the team’s spring complex in Ft. Myers, Fla. (link via Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com). He’s filed for an $8.975MM salary, while the team countered at a proposed $8.3MM mark (as can be seen in MLBTR’s 2020 Arbitration Tracker).
Thus far in 2020, teams have toppled players by a 3-0 margin. The Braves bested Shane Greene early last week, and that was followed by arb victories for the Twins (over Jose Berrios) and for the Dodgers (over Joc Pederson). Rodriguez and his reps at Octagon will surely hope to halt that team-side momentum — assuming the two parties get to the hearing room. The Red Sox did negotiate a two-year, $10MM deal with Andrew Benintendi late last week, which will avoid arbitration for him both in 2020 and in 2021. A two-year arrangement with Rodriguez would buy out his final two seasons of club control, so that’d perhaps be a palatable alternative if the two sides can yet agree on a price point.
Like Benintendi, Rodriguez has established himself as a key piece for the Red Sox. The soon-to-be 27-year-old Rodriguez may have even been Boston’s best starter in 2019, when he pitched to a 3.81 ERA/3.86 FIP with 9.43 K/9, 3.32 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent groundball rate across 203 1/3 innings. It was a breakthrough year for Rodriguez, who hadn’t amassed more than 137 1/3 frames in any season since the ex-Orioles farmhand made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015.
Now that fellow southpaw David Price is no longer a member of Boston’s rotation, Rodriguez is all the more important to the team’s starting staff. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll come out on top in his arbitration hearing or earn a multiyear extension.