Tigers sign strong free agent starter, one more off the board for Minnesota [Twins Hyperlinks]

Let the Hot Stove season commence.

Good morning, Twins fans.

The big news around baseball today is the reported 5-year deal that the Tigers have handed to former Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN and many others. “E-Rod” was No. 10 on my list of the top-25 free agent starters, so losing the chance to sign him does have a negative impact for Minnesota. And it goes without saying that strengthening a division rival — who was rebuilding and finished ahead of the Twins in 2021 — is also less than ideal.

Here’s part of what I wrote about Rodríguez in that column:

A 4.74 ERA in 2021 might not look like a worthy candidate, but I will note that the version of WAR that uses peripheral stats in its calculation, Rodríguez was worth 3.7 Wins in 2019 and 3.8 Wins this year. (He missed all of 2020 after he contracted COVID-19 and later myocarditis.)

At 28 ½, the lefty is one of the youngest pitchers who was in consideration for this list. His career-high 27.4% strikeout rate was 10th in the American League this season among pitchers with at least 100 innings, one spot below former Twin Lance Lynn. Although one spot ahead of that on the strikeout rate leaderboard was Andrew Heaney, on whom two pitching-needy teams gave up this season headed into his own free agency journey (which has since concluded in signing with the Dodgers for one year and $8.5 million).

Last note on the breaking news: MLB Trade Rumors picked 5 players they thought the Twins might sign this winter and, you guessed it, Rodríguez was one of them. You can read my full column on that fun exercise here. Two of their three writers picked the Twins as his ultimate destination, while the third picked Detroit.

Good call!

That’s one quality pitcher off the board for the Twins this winter.

Twins Hyperlinks:

  • Curious about where the CBA negotiations stand? See the latest pieces from the Dynamic Duo, Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal over at The Athletic. Apparently, the league proposed to pay pre-free agency players based on their WAR instead of through arbitration. 

  • Evan also joined the Effectively Wild podcast to discuss the reporting in greater depth. 

  • Pat Reusse of the Star Tribune was on fire in this column advocating for, among other things, an electronic strike zone in MLB.

  • I was glad the local media picked up on the comparison upon Buster Posey’s retirement. But one thing you should know, readers: Nationally, Joe Mauer’s perception as a Hall of Famer is much greater than it is locally. Good news for Mauer fans. 

  • James Fegan and Dan Hayes of The Athletic talked to AL Central executives about the strength of the division next year. Short version: White Sox should remain the favorites, but the other four clubs are talking boldly about their chances

Don’t miss an article this offseason — subscribe to become a Member now. Thanks to reader Tom, who signed up this week for a full year subscription! Welcome to Hot Stove Season.

You might also like…

*The top-25 free agent starters for the Twins

*5 Free Agents picked for the Twins by MLB Trade Rumors

*Exploring what a Byron Buxton contract extension should look like

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