Rodriguez, 30, will head back for a third stint with the organization that originally selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. After a three-year stretch with the Giants from 2018-20 and a one-year stop in the Rockies organization in 2021, Rodriguez signed back with the Twins for the 2022 campaign. He tossed 7 2/3 innings at the big league level and allowed three runs (3.52 ERA), also contributing another 94 2/3 frames of 4.75 ERA ball in Triple-A St. Paul.
The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck has appeared in parts of four Major League campaigns, working to a collective 4.24 ERA with a 16.9% strikeout rate, an 8% walk rate and a 41% ground-ball rate. He averaged 92 mph on his heater during last year’s brief look, primarily pairing it with a slider and curveball.
In parts of four Triple-A seasons, Rodriguez has a 5.01 ERA, though that’s skewed by his one catastrophic year with the Rockies, where he was rocked for a 6.72 ERA. He sports a combined 4.17 ERA in his other three Triple-A seasons and has generally posted respectable strikeout and walk rates there: 22.9% and 7.3%, respectively.
The Twins’ big league rotation figures to consist of Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda and Bailey Ober, although Maeda will be returning after a year-long absence owing to internal brace surgery to repair the UCL in his pitching elbow, so he shouldn’t be expected to necessarily work a full starter’s workload. The Twins are deep in alternative options on the 40-man roster, with Josh Winder, Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland among the prospects who reached the Majors for the first time in 2022, and it’s feasible that recently extended righty Chris Paddack could return from Tommy John surgery in the season’s second half.
It’s a solid collection of arms but one that generally lacks a prototypical front-of-the-rotation presence. Rodriguez will join names like Jose De Leon, Randy Dobnak and Brock Stewart as non-roster depth options in the upper minors. Given the health troubles the Twins experienced in 2022, it’s only sensible to see them further stockpiling depth — particularly when it comes in the form of a pitcher they’ve known for quite some time.