The Red Sox have issued a qualifying offer to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Rodriguez has 10 days to decide whether or not to accept the one-year, $18.4MM contract. If he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere, the Red Sox will get draft pick compensation in return, and E-Rod’s new team will have to surrender at least one pick.
Rodriguez’s 4.74 ERA wouldn’t make him an obvious qualifying offer candidate at first glance, yet it isn’t surprising that Boston would issue the QO once you look at the underlying statistics. Rodriguez posted above-average strikeout, walk, and hard-hit ball rates, and his .289 xwOBA fell far under his .330 wOBA. The southpaw’s .363 BABIP was also pretty telling, as Rodriguez didn’t receive much luck on batted balls or help from Boston’s defense. Other ERA estimators (3.32 FIP/3.43/xFIP/3.64 SIERA) painted a much more appealing picture of Rodriguez’s 2021 performance.
Most importantly, Rodriguez was healthy and capable of tossing 157 2/3 innings in 2021 — a welcome sight considering that he missed all of 2020 recovering from myocarditis, caused by a case of COVID-19. Apart from a brief bout of elbow inflammation that caused him to miss the first week of the season, E-Rod looked much like his normal self in 2021.
With of all these factors in mind plus the fact that Rodriguez doesn’t turn 29 until April, there is little doubt he’ll receive plenty of attention in free agency this winter. There may be a slim chance Rodriguez accepts the qualifying offer, but he should still be able to land a healthy multi-year deal, given all of the advanced metrics that teams will pay heed to moreso than the 4.74 ERA.
The QO probably shouldn’t have too much of an adverse impact on his market, and the Sox have now put themselves in line to capitalize via the compensation route if Rodriguez does sign with another team. That said, the Red Sox have also expressed interest in re-signing the left-hander, and the two sides have discussed contract extensions as recently as this past Spring Training.