The Tigers have reinstated left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez from the restricted list, tweets Daniel Álvarez-Montes of El Extra Base. Right-hander Wily Peralta was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
Rodriguez, 29, was signed in the offseason to a five-year, $77MM contract, with the Tigers hoping he could be a veteran anchor of their young rotation. Detroit had debuted many promising young starters in previous seasons, including Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and others. It was hoped that those youngers, combined with the addition of Rodriguez, could give the club a strong rotation and help them emerge from their years-long rebuild.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s law has been applied to the Tigers in the strictest possible terms this season, with their rotation being heavily targeted. Mize made just two starts before landing on the injured list, eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery, keeping him out of action for this year and likely most of next year as well. Manning has since returned but missed almost four months due to shoulder issues, having made just five starts so far this year. Skubal stayed healthy for a while, making 21 starts, but recently underwent a flexor tendon surgery that will finish his 2022 and likely keep him out of action for part of 2023 as well.
As for Rodriguez, he landed on the injured list in May due to a ribcage sprain. He started a rehab assignment in early June but was then transferred to the restricted list due to a personal matter which was later reported to be a marital issue. He returned to begin another rehab assignment in early August, working back up to a starter’s workload before today’s return. In the end, Rodriguez spent just over two months on the restricted list, during which time he didn’t take up a spot on the 40-man roster or earn any salary. Prior to that extended absence, he made eight starts for Detroit, registering a 4.38 ERA in 39 innings.
With the club’s rotation being so snakebit all year, they have had to churn through various backup plans over the course of the season. One of those was Peralta, 33, who was signed to a minor league deal in the offseason. He was selected to the roster in mid-April and appeared in 28 games. In 38 1/3 innings on the year, he has a 2.58 ERA, not missing bats entirely but at least missing the most important part. His 19% strikeout rate is below league average but he’s in the 89th percentile in terms of barrel percentage. Perhaps due to keeping hitters off-balance, his 5.6% HR/FB rate is less than half his career rate, helping to keep his ERA down.
Despite those solid results, Peralta will head to the waiver wire in the coming days, as the trade deadline is now behind us. Manger A.J. Hinch spoke to reporters about today’s moves, including Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, explaining that they want to use the remainder of the season to evaluate younger pitchers. “We’re giving Wily Peralta a chance to pitch somewhere else while we look at some guys who are more likely to be here,” Hinch said.
Hinch also explained that Daniel Norris and Garrett Hill will be moved to the bullpen, as the club has multiple off-days coming up and can survive with a four-man rotation for a few weeks. In Hill’s case, the move is about limiting his innings down the stretch in order to avoid overworking him. The club’s rotation for the time being will consist of Rodriguez, Manning, Tyler Alexander and Drew Hutchison.