Should the Cardinals consider Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency?

Eduardo Rodriguez has been excellent for the Tigers this season, but should the Cardinals be interested in him?
Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays
Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

This coming winter, Eduardo Rodriguez could be a free agent, as he has an opt-out clause in his current deal with the Tigers. The veteran left-hander is having a very good season. He came into his start on Thursday against the Yankees with a 10-7 record and an ERA of 3.11.

As we all know, the Cardinals are going to need pitching, and at least one of the three starters they acquire either via trade or free agency is going to have to be an ace. Rodriguez has emerged as a frontline starter with the Tigers this season. Could he be somebody the Cardinals might take a look at?

Rodriguez was with the Red Sox when they won the World Series back in 2018. He pitched in Game 4 of that series. Now, he could be one of the most sought-after pitchers on the free agent market this coming winter.

He's averaging 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings and just 2.4 walks per nine. He also entered Thursday with a 3.30 FIP mark. Needless to say, he strikes guys out and doesn't walk a lot of batters. He's also a left-hander with high velocity and is somebody who could greatly benefit the Cardinals' rotation next year.

As is the case with every free-agent starter, there will be a risk involved. For starters, this is really the first year that he's been an ace-level pitcher. He could end up being like Nathan Eovaldi was this year for the Rangers, but the Cardinals do need to be careful that they don't make another move similar to the signings of Steven Matz and Mike Leake.

Another thing to keep an eye on is his injury history. He sprained his ribcage last year and missed almost three months. This year, he suffered a finger injury that kept him out until July.

Fortunately, these injuries were not arm-related. Not that it wouldn't be a risk for the Cardinals, but it's not a glaring red flag. Still, it's something to keep an eye on, as chances are he might want another four or five-year deal, similar to what he got with the Tigers when he first signed in 2021.


For him to be a free agent this winter, he'll have to exercise his opt-out clause, but the expectation is that he'll opt out of the remaining three years of his deal and hit the open market.

The stats this year look good, but next year will certainly be a big year for him as he tries to replicate his 2023 success. I'm not sure I'd consider him an ace though. He's certainly a good pitcher and someone who could help the Cardinals out, but he might not be the ace the Cardinals need.

Still, it might be worth taking a chance on him to bolster the pitching staff, especially if the Cardinals find guys like Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, and Blake Snell too expensive.