The desire to add more starting pitching to the Chicago Cubs rotation in 2024 can sometimes be overlooked among the Shohei Ohtani (reminder he will not pitch in 24'), Juan Soto, and Cody Bellinger rumors. While the organization is filled with arms, adding an established veteran in his prime would be ideal. Especially with Marcus Stroman's departure. One notable name on the market is lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, 30, is an experienced lefty with solid stuff. While his fastball is not high-octane (92 MPH), he has a deep pitching repertoire featuring a fastball, cutter, changeup, slider, and sinker. His changeup has been a primary weapon of his throughout his career and is coming off a year where his slider was at its peak value in any MLB season he's pitched in, per FanGraphs.
Last season, Rodriguez pitched to a 3.30 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 143 strikeouts, 48 walks, a career-best 134 ERA+, and was a 3.0 fWAR player in 152.2 innings (26 starts). Per baseballsavant, Rodriguez was in the 92nd percentile in Pitching Run Value. Overall his command was solid, and he held opponents to a .648 OPS against.
He is a career 4.03 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 pitcher in 1,100.1 innings. Over his last 136 appearances (2018-2023) he sports a 3.93 ERA, 3.74 FIP, and 9.3 K/9.
Per Spotrac, his market value in 2024 is roughly $20.5 million. Starting pitching is not cheap and it will take some money and years to get a guy like Rodriguez. It is worth noting that he opted out of his five-year $77 million deal with the Detroit Tigers in which he was set to make a base salary of $18 million in 2024 on that original deal. The fact is he is probably going to be overpaid in the eyes of many but if he delivers what he did in 2023 and much of his career, then it's a worthy investment.
What you are getting in Rodriguez is a middle rotation-type pitcher on a legit contender, not quite an ace. He was the number one on the Tigers last year but they were still in a rebuild year. Rodriguez was part of the 2018 World Series championship Boston Red Sox team, so he is no stranger to postseason play and success. He seems like the prototype pitcher the Cubs like which is why there is a potential fit. Is he number one on the list? Might not be, but he could be an option if they see fit.