The Twins are in agreement with Dereck Rodríguez on a minor league contract, according to an announcement from the right-hander’s representative, Gavin Kahn. It’s something of a full-circle moment for Rodríguez, who began his career in the Minnesota system as a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft.
While Rodríguez spent his first six pro seasons in the Twins organization, he’s yet to pitch in the majors with Minnesota. During his initial run, he topped out at Double-A and elected minor league free agency after the 2017 campaign. He hooked on with the Giants on a minors pact that winter and earned his first big league call the following season after an excellent start in Triple-A. Rodríguez unexpectedly became a key member of the San Francisco rotation, tossing 118 1/3 innings of 2.81 ERA ball as a rookie.
That strong run prevention came without huge strikeout or ground-ball totals, though, and Rodríguez didn’t replicate that success over the following seasons. He posted a 5.64 ERA over 99 frames in 2019, then was limited to just two relief appearances in 2020 before San Francisco designated him for assignment. Claimed off waivers by the Tigers, he spent the rest of the season on optional assignment to Detroit’s alternate training site before being outrighted off the 40-man roster at the end of the year.
Rodríguez signed a minor league pact with the Rockies last offseason. He spent the year with their top affiliate in Albuquerque, pitching to a 6.72 ERA across 85 2/3 innings in an extremely hitter-friendly environment. Now 29 years old, Rodríguez will try to turn the tide and rediscover some of his rookie year success in Minnesota. The Twins starting staff is fairly open beyond Dylan Bundy and Bailey Ober. They’ll surely add to that mix after the lockout, but Rodríguez might have an opportunity to land a back-end role with a strong showing in Spring Training and/or start to the regular season at Triple-A St. Paul.