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Eduardo Rodriguez signs with Diamondbacks: NL champs add to solid rotation on four-year, $80M deal, per report

The Diamondbacks have added a significant piece to their rotation. Arizona and free-agent left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez have agreed to a four-year contract worth $20 million a year, reports ESPN and the New York Post. The contract includes a fifth year vesting option that can push the total value to $100 million. The team has not yet announced the signing.

Rodriguez, 31 in April, became a free agent after opting out of the final three years and $49 million remaining on his contract with the Detroit Tigers. That came after Rodriguez used his no-trade clause to veto a deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline. At the time, he indicated he didn’t want to relocate his family in the middle of the season.

This past season, this second in Detroit, Rodriguez pitched to a 3.30 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings around a finger injury. He succeeds more by limiting hard contact than racking up big strikeout totals, an approach that has served him very well. Rodriguez also tends to pitch deep into games. He averaged 5.9 inning per start in 2023, well above the 5.1 league average.

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Rodriguez the No. 7 free agent available this offseason, and No. 4 among full-time pitchers. Here’s his write-up:

It’s a shame most people will remember Rodriguez’s season for what didn’t happen — the deadline deal to the Dodgers that he vetoed using his no-trade clause — rather than what did: him reasserting himself as an above-average starter. Rodriguez showed improved velocity (up about half a tick) and bat-missing ability throughout the 2023 season. He shuffled his repertoire, too, ditching his sinker to lean more heavily on a three-pitch mix that included his low-90s four-seam fastball, a cutter he can command to both sides of the plate, and a changeup that led the way in whiffs. Rodriguez will turn 31 in April, and he seems like a reasonably safe bet to remain a mid-rotation starter for at least the next few seasons. 

Along with Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, Rodriguez will give the D-backs a very strong top three for their rotation. All three eat innings at an above-average rate. Impressive rookie Brandon Pfaadt figures to hold down the No. 4 spot. Arizona will have to figure out their No. 5 starter, but they have more than two months to do so before spring training.

This is the second significant addition for the D-backs this offseason. They added slugging third baseman Eugenio Suárez in a three-player trade with the Seattle Mariners a few weeks ago. Arizona could still use a DH and it seems unlikely they are done this offseason. Among others, they have been connected to veteran Justin Turner in recent weeks.

Because he received the qualifying offer previously in his career, the Tigers could not make Rodriguez the QO this offseason, meaning he was not tied to draft pick compensation. The Tigers will not receive compensation for losing him to free agency and his new team will not have to forfeit any draft picks or international bonus pool money.

The D-backs went 84-78 this past season, though they reached the postseason as the third wild-card spot and went through the Milwaukee Brewers, Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies to win the second pennant in franchise history.

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