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3 Things the Eduardo Rodriguez Signing Taught Us


Nate Palmer
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A potential Minnesota Twins free agent target went off the board Monday as Eduardo Rodriguez agreed to sign with the Detroit Tigers. Here are three things we now know about the Twins and the division. 

Monday morning, one of the first free-agent dominoes fell. As reported, free-agent starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has found a new home with the division rival Detroit Tigers. The reports have the deal at 5 years and $77 million dollars. 

 
Rodriguez was certainly a pitcher that made sense for the Twins. At 28, the lefty represents a young free agent who is now controlled on a five-year contract with an opt-out after two years. Rodriguez is coming off a season in Boston that was likely better than his 4.74 ERA suggests. Instead, he finds a home with Detroit. A team the Twins were looking up at in the standings when the 2021 season came to a close. 

As the dust settles on the news of the Rodriguez signing, here are some things we know. 

The Twins were not in on Rodriguez.

As referenced above, a Twins-Rodriguez union made all the sense in the world. The Twins, at best, need to fill three rotation spots, and Rodriguez has a good mix of experience and youth to be part of a competing rotation for the life of his five-year deal. The union made so much sense that two out of three MLBTR writers predicted that the Twins would be the team to sign Rodriguez in their look at the top-50 free agents this winter.  

Darren Wolfson reported quickly that the Twins and Rodriguez camp had not been talking about a deal. 

While this news will disappoint some, it will take time before we know exactly what happened behind the scenes when it came to the Twins view of Rodriguez. That something could have been a talent or makeup issue or a contract commitment. Whatever it was, it left the Twins not interested in the lefty. 

The Tigers aren’t bluffing

One of the most significant talking points of the young offseason is that the Tigers are poised and ready to spend. Most of the attention ends up going the way of the Tigers signing a shortstop like Carlos Correa, but five years and $77 million to Rodriguez is another significant chunk of money that Detroit has now spent this offseason. The Tigers are no strangers to opening up the pocketbook to bring in high-priced free agents. It just has been a while since it made sense for them to do so. 

The signing also shows that not only are the Tigers willing to spend on free agents this offseason, but at least one free agent has shown he is willing to choose Detroit as his new home. That may be more important than anything for a team looking to build on a young core, and a third-place finish in the AL Central as the 2022 season ushers in. 

The Twins have work to do

The Twins should see a better 2022 than 2021 simply because everything can’t go wrong again like it did in 2021. If the goal is to unseat the White Sox, the Tigers are at least going to make other AL Central teams think about them on their way to the division crown. 

If the Twins want to be the 2022 AL Central Division champs, this move by the Tigers only further confirms they will need to go and be active in acquiring major league-ready talent through some avenue soon. In past years, when it has been a two-team race, it is easier to sneak into that top spot. With the Tigers making their push, there are at least two other teams in the division ready to make something happen. Thankfully there are still free-agent starting pitchers on the board. With two (Rodriguez and Andrew Heaney) already off the board, the club may not want to wait too long if they have their eye on one of the free-agent starting pitchers that are available. 

Of course, there is always the route of trading for starting pitching talent as well. Something that Wolfson mentioned several times today as reactions were made on Twitter to the Twins lack of interest in Rodriguez. 

How are you feeling about the state of the division after Detroit has added Rodriguez to their already talented rotation? Should the Twins have been in on Rodriguez? Let us know below! 

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Detroit did everything right and MN made a lot of mistakes. Lowly Detroit will be a force to be dealt with now. Hopefully MN will take a long look to acknowledge their mistakes and rectify them. Rebuild would be another mistake, my hope is that they can avoid that one.

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1 hour ago, Doctor Gast said:

Detroit did everything right and MN made a lot of mistakes. Lowly Detroit will be a force to be dealt with now. Hopefully MN will take a long look to acknowledge their mistakes and rectify them. Rebuild would be another mistake, my hope is that they can avoid that one.

Are you referring to the teams in general or this specific situation when you say Detroit did everything right and MN made a lot of mistakes? Curious what you mean by that.

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2 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

Are you referring to the teams in general or this specific situation when you say Detroit did everything right and MN made a lot of mistakes? Curious what you mean by that.

I was generalizing because I didn't want to go into great length in what DET did  right  or what MN did wrong because with MN I've stated already them in the past. If you are really interested, I could state them again and list some examples. for both.

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I'm glad I now live in Maine.  I can pick a new team to follow from a wide selection of "local" teams.  I have Boston, New York (2 teams), and Philadelphia relatively close.  And they are teams which are often talked about on the MLB channel on Sirius radio (unlike the Twins which are seldom mentioned).  Unless the front office does something pretty dramatic happen soon, my interest in the Twins may end its 60 year run.

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Maybe an odd take but as a fan, I love that our division is getting stronger.  The Tigers will be tougher for us, but also tougher for the White Sox and everyone else.  We have to win our division and play tougher opponents to prepare us for the playoffs and get back to the World Series.  No more disrespect for the AL Central and we are on alert - game on, Twins 2024 WS Champs!  

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Yes I agree.  I think Twins are going with a "bullpen" approach.  I hate this.  Baseball is getting ruined by all these "new wave" changes to the game.  MLB has taken a grand old game and ruined it.  It's becoming unwatchable.  The Twins only make it worse.

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The only thing Detroit has right now that Minnesota doesn't is rose colored glasses. The Twins won the division the past two years and last year they tanked, so the perception is they are down. Compounding that is our very recent outrage over the Buxton and Berrios situation.

Detroit has been bad for half a decade; it just SEEMS like the rebuild should be over. But what do they have? One young pitcher in Casey Mize who doesn't have swing-and-miss stuff? The other young starters they are hopeful about haven't done anything and the offense has developed pretty much nothing to get excited about. The Twins lineup is significantly better than Detroit's.

It's not like the fans started to come back either. The Twins were 19th in attendance last year, Detroit was 23rd. 

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17 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

I was generalizing because I didn't want to go into great length in what DET did  right  or what MN did wrong because with MN I've stated already them in the past. If you are really interested, I could state them again and list some examples. for both.

My main curiosity was if you meant this specific signing or organizational moves in general over the last 5 years or whatever. As nicksaviking posted right above me, Detroit doesn't seem to be in any better situation than the Twins and have been much worse over the last 5 years so I'd be interested in your comparisons on the 2 orgs if you feel like sharing.

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With the aggressive layer of teams having signed Heaney, Thor, Rodriguez, Berrios definitely gone, Carlos Correa to the Tigers rumors/reports pretty heavy and Doug’s report that the Twins are not in on Stroman (I hope I got that right)-- with all that, I’m getting the same sinking feeling as last year.

There are several teams doing what I’ve insisted the Twins need to do, that is being very aggressive in acquiring quality talent before it’s mostly gone.

So far it looks like the Angels, Tigers, Dodgers, possibly Blue Jays with the Yankees lurking as another grabber-of-talent that the Twins could use.

I hope they’re not pursuing the cockamamie approach of using a bunch of starters and relievers in a "gang pitching" approach.

It seems like every quality player that I’m reading who is in on that player, the Twins aren’t mentioned.

All that said, my blueprint with them signing Canha for LF (they should be able to do that now), Iglesias at SS, Robbie Ray as the ace (a tough lift) and Danny Duffy as #2 pitcher (for the life of me, I can’t find any reports on his current health) plus Pineda as #3 is still alive. SIgning Buxton was part of it and based on reports, there’s no excuse for this FO to fail to sign him 100M 120M, it has to get done.

Can this FO step up. It’s early so that sinking feeling is possibly premature but we need to see some action, especially with the Tigers behaving like the super-aggressive WHite Sox of 2-3 years back.

This is a chance for the FO to win my confidence back. SO far, nothing to indicate their passive approach has changed but the story hasn’t been written yet.

I just wish they were showing some spunk like the Tigers and Angels.

 

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7 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

My main curiosity was if you meant this specific signing or organizational moves in general over the last 5 years or whatever. As nicksaviking posted right above me, Detroit doesn't seem to be in any better situation than the Twins and have been much worse over the last 5 years so I'd be interested in your comparisons on the 2 orgs if you feel like sharing.

Sorry, I took so long to comment. Detroit has been rebuilding the last few years, they evaluate their players and have been doing a pretty well in selecting from the draft. They been holding the team together with Gardy and a few good solid Twins rejects like Scoop and Cron until recently. Last year they made some good choices in HJ Hinch as manager and picked up Akil Badoo from MN in the Rule 5 draft. This year they are making a move by obtaining Eduardo Rodriguez early and have been rumored of having an inside track on Correa.

MN made some mistakes last season by leaving some very promising prospects unprotected, mainly Badoo (that got selected by DET) and Miranda (which didn't get selected). While keeping dead weight like Cave and took on another DH type, Garlic. They have shown that they have poor evaluation of players. Twin have been in desperate need for a real CF back-up for Buxton. Broxton was a walk on in spring training. He's a 5 tool CF who has been slumping but came alive during spring training and extremely overshadowed Cave in every category. Yet they sent Broxton down to cool off and tank while taking Cave with them and Cave bombed.

2021 we were suppose to win the division with hopes of finally win a post season game. You would think they'd go out and get some bon afide #4 & 5 starters. They got Happ & Shoemaker instead, which I didn't like from the start and they bombed

Coming off a short season, you'd think they'd set up a good group of long relievers  to take up innings to keep the starters from getting over stretched and take off stress from the BP which was terrible in spring training. They end up putting all their confidence on their weak rotation and failing BP while using their little long relief to mop up games. Dobnak was a ground baller and with this new and improved infield he was destined to succeed but the management decided they wanted to transform him on the fly to be a strike out pitcher. That didn't work out well. 

Basically poor evaluation of players.

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14 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

Sorry, I took so long to comment. Detroit has been rebuilding the last few years, they evaluate their players and have been doing a pretty well in selecting from the draft. They been holding the team together with Gardy and a few good solid Twins rejects like Scoop and Cron until recently. Last year they made some good choices in HJ Hinch as manager and picked up Akil Badoo from MN in the Rule 5 draft. This year they are making a move by obtaining Eduardo Rodriguez early and have been rumored of having an inside track on Correa.

MN made some mistakes last season by leaving some very promising prospects unprotected, mainly Badoo (that got selected by DET) and Miranda (which didn't get selected). While keeping dead weight like Cave and took on another DH type, Garlic. They have shown that they have poor evaluation of players. Twin have been in desperate need for a real CF back-up for Buxton. Broxton was a walk on in spring training. He's a 5 tool CF who has been slumping but came alive during spring training and extremely overshadowed Cave in every category. Yet they sent Broxton down to cool off and tank while taking Cave with them and Cave bombed.

2021 we were suppose to win the division with hopes of finally win a post season game. You would think they'd go out and get some bon afide #4 & 5 starters. They got Happ & Shoemaker instead, which I didn't like from the start and they bombed

Coming off a short season, you'd think they'd set up a good group of long relievers  to take up innings to keep the starters from getting over stretched and take off stress from the BP which was terrible in spring training. They end up putting all their confidence on their weak rotation and failing BP while using their little long relief to mop up games. Dobnak was a ground baller and with this new and improved infield he was destined to succeed but the management decided they wanted to transform him on the fly to be a strike out pitcher. That didn't work out well. 

Basically poor evaluation of players.

This feels like a bit of an awkward comparison. As you said, Detroit has been rebuilding and that means they were looking for very different things in players and making very different evaluations than the Twins were. Baddoo turned out better than anyone would've guessed, including the Tigers. He'd never played above high-A and hadn't played in basically 2 years. It turned out terrible for the Twins, and everyone knew there was a chance he'd be taken, but nobody expected him to step in and be a 2 WAR player last year. Nobody. Not 1 single person. The Tigers being in rebuild mode meant they could take a shot on a super athletic kid and not care if he struggled for a year because they weren't trying to win anyways. The Twins were trying to win. Going into the year it was reasonable to expect Cave would help the Twins more than Baddoo. Even if I don't like Cave, it was a fair assessment and decision. 

Keon Broxton isn't worth debating. He's not a 5 tool player, he's a 2 tool player. He's really good defensively and can run, but he's a worse hitter than Cave. Besides being a true CFer, he brings no worth to a major league team and he will never get a major league deal again in his life.

I thought Happ was a solid #5 pitcher selection, he'd been above average for years and it was reasonable to expect him to eat some innings and give the team a chance to win as a back end starter. I didn't like the Shoemaker deal, though. Also didn't like how they put Dobnak in the pen, but I don't get why it's bad that they helped him develop another pitch, though. Him becoming a "strikeout pitcher" was him improving his slider and it basically becoming a whole new pitch to him. He couldn't control it well enough and he got rocked, but it's never a bad thing to add a legit pitch.

The FO has made some terrible evaluations, but they've also made some very good ones. Like I said to start this, it's hard to compare the 2 orgs. I don't have a problem with the frustrations, but I think it's tough to say the Tigers have done things correctly and the Twins haven't when they were attempting to reach very different goals. The Twins failed miserably last year (after multiple successful seasons), but the Tigers haven't succeeded yet. Will be interesting to see how the rest of this offseason plays out and what the teams look like going into 2022.

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On 11/18/2021 at 9:32 AM, chpettit19 said:

This feels like a bit of an awkward comparison. As you said, Detroit has been rebuilding and that means they were looking for very different things in players and making very different evaluations than the Twins were. Baddoo turned out better than anyone would've guessed, including the Tigers. He'd never played above high-A and hadn't played in basically 2 years. It turned out terrible for the Twins, and everyone knew there was a chance he'd be taken, but nobody expected him to step in and be a 2 WAR player last year. Nobody. Not 1 single person. The Tigers being in rebuild mode meant they could take a shot on a super athletic kid and not care if he struggled for a year because they weren't trying to win anyways. The Twins were trying to win. Going into the year it was reasonable to expect Cave would help the Twins more than Baddoo. Even if I don't like Cave, it was a fair assessment and decision. 

Keon Broxton isn't worth debating. He's not a 5 tool player, he's a 2 tool player. He's really good defensively and can run, but he's a worse hitter than Cave. Besides being a true CFer, he brings no worth to a major league team and he will never get a major league deal again in his life.

I thought Happ was a solid #5 pitcher selection, he'd been above average for years and it was reasonable to expect him to eat some innings and give the team a chance to win as a back end starter. I didn't like the Shoemaker deal, though. Also didn't like how they put Dobnak in the pen, but I don't get why it's bad that they helped him develop another pitch, though. Him becoming a "strikeout pitcher" was him improving his slider and it basically becoming a whole new pitch to him. He couldn't control it well enough and he got rocked, but it's never a bad thing to add a legit pitch.

The FO has made some terrible evaluations, but they've also made some very good ones. Like I said to start this, it's hard to compare the 2 orgs. I don't have a problem with the frustrations, but I think it's tough to say the Tigers have done things correctly and the Twins haven't when they were attempting to reach very different goals. The Twins failed miserably last year (after multiple successful seasons), but the Tigers haven't succeeded yet. Will be interesting to see how the rest of this offseason plays out and what the teams look like going into 2022.

If you can't see the eye test then the only real stat that is really important in judging Cave is Wins/Lost games in CF, I don't care any metrics you come up with. The odds of us losing the game with Cave is very great. The only way we can win a game w/ Cave in CF is if we have great pitching, great hitting that overcomes the deficit in CF, a bad team having a bad day or any combination of these factors.

I don't know what you consider as 5 tools but mine is glove/ speed/ arm/ hitting for power and average. Buxton I consider as a 5 tool player. Broxton reminds me of Buxton, the only difference is Buxton had Rowson to help & defend him during his rough time hitting and Broxton had no one. Broxton was finding himself at the plate during ST it was a perfect opportunity to show confidence in Broxton and watch him blossom into the next Buxton. But they couldn't see anything beyond Cave and missed that opportunity to find a capable CF back-up Buxton.

I advocated the Twins to take advantage of PIT motivation to move players. I indicated Musgrove- SP, R Rodrigues- closer and B Reynolds- OF. They all had a very good 2021. The FO missed another opportunity. They instead spent $ on FAs Happ and Shoemaker which I didn't like and they didn't pan out.

In the beginning of the season in how they evaluated their LF and CF back-up and how they were using their pitching. I said they would have a terrible season unless they changed their mindset and turn the ship around. They stayed coarse and had a terrible season.

No one knew how good Badoo was going to be but I knew he was good enough to protect. They decided to go out get another DH type player (Garlic) which is not essential and we have in abundance and let go unprotected a very good CF which is very essential and in short supply in our organization. IMO that's not very good evaluation of need and potential.

I'm not saying studying stats isn't important, I'm saying observing potential while taking in factors, conditions and need is more important. Try not to get locked into mindsets. If your metrics tell you that Cave is a suitable CF, I'd throw your metrics out in the trash.

 

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