The Red Sox and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.3MM, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. It’s a repeat of the salary the two sides agreed to last winter, as is common with players who miss an entire season due to injury or, in Rodriguez’s case, medical concerns.
Rodriguez, 27, didn’t pitch in 2020 after testing positive for Covid-19 and eventually developing myocarditis — an inflammation of the heart muscle which rendered him unable to take the field. Rodriguez revealed in late November that he’s recovered and feels 100 percent again. After months of downtime, Rodriguez told MLB Network Radio that he’d been cleared to begin a throwing program and resume lifting weights in preparation for a return to the mound in 2021.
The Red Sox will have a difficult task in determining what type of workload Rodriguez should be earmarked for Rodriguez after not only a season away from the mound but a season lost to heart issues. Boston pitching coach Dave Bush spoke with reporters about the challenges of the situation back in September (link via MLB.com’s Ian Browne).
“For a guy like Eduardo Rodriguez, 200 innings last year and zero this year, we’re still figuring out exactly what we can expect from him next year and what’s a reasonable amount so he can pitch and be part of the rotation,” Bush said at the time. “But we also want to make sure that we don’t overdo it and don’t put him in danger at that point.”
The Red Sox badly missed Rodriguez in 2020, as a patchwork rotation often rounded out by journeymen limped to a 25th-ranked 5.34 ERA. A healthy Rodriguez is a key part of the starting staff in Boston, having pitched to a combined 3.92 ERA and 3.84 FIP with 9.7 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 from 2017-19 (470 1/3 innings).
This will be the final trip through the arbitration process for Rodriguez, who has five-plus years of Major League service and will be a free agent after the 2021 season.