After a long wait, the Red Sox will finally be able to see what they have in Eduardo Rodriguez when he makes his season debut on Tuesday night in a huge contest against the Orioles.
However, the Red Sox may not even be in a position to use Rodriguez and that sobering fact came courtesy of current Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Back in July 2014, the Red Sox were in last place in the AL East and were looking to ship off valuable pieces to contenders. One of those was reliever Andrew Miller. One of the calls they made was to the Detroit Tigers and Dombrowski. They asked for two players in exchange for Miller. Dombrowski only wanted to part with one.
On July 31, Dombrowski decided to pull the trigger on the deal, expecting the Red Sox to surely say yes.
“Finally, the last day, it was the same day we got David Price and we felt we were in position that we would give them what they wanted,” said Dombrowski. “We ended up giving them the two guys. We thought we had a deal. But at that point, (Cherington) says, ‘We’re not quite ready yet. We have one more phone call we have to make.’
“They got back to us and ended up trading the Orioles for Eduardo Rodriguez.”
In the cutthroat business that is Major League Baseball, you have to figure out when to act decisively. Luckily for the Red Sox, they were able to bring on one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball for a reliever who only helped the Orioles for half a year before bolting to the Yankees.
“Really when they got Eduardo Rodriguez, he was better than the guys we were offering,” reflected Dombrowski. “So I understood it. But they had indicated they had been asking Baltimore for him for a while and they kept saying no. So they were really looking to get him.”
While the Orioles could know something about Rodriguez that prompted them to send them to the Red Sox for basically nothing (after you factor in Miller’s decision to leave Baltimore), the Red Sox have seen nothing that has caused them concern about Rodriguez’s potential impact at the top of their rotation.
Last year, Rodriguez proved to be one of the Sox’s best starters with a 3.85 ERA. Now, he is looking to improve upon the Red Sox starting rotation’s ERA of 4.68 just in time for the Red Sox to face Rodriguez’s former team.
“He has tremendous ability and great makeup,” Dombrowski said. “It’s unfortunate he got hurt this spring. Sometimes people look past that it’s a significant injury. We didn’t think he would be out this long either. He took a little bit longer to heal.
“But not only does he have the ability, he’s a hard worker and focused to be a championship type of guy.”