Detroit Tigers Need To Trade Eduardo Rodriguez ASAP
Things haven't looked this good for the Detroit Tigers in a while.
They've won three straight series, including seven of their last nine games. Somehow, after an abysmal start rife with comical errors and futility, they're just two games below .500 and within a stone's throw of first place in the AL Central.
Eduardo Rodriguez is a big part of the Tigers' sudden resurgence. He has a 0.48 ERA over his last six starts, having allowed just two runs over 41.2 innings, including only 22 hits, six walks, and 41 strikeouts. There's no doubt that E-Rod has been the best pitcher in baseball over the last month.
It comes at a time when Detroit fans are starving for a winner. All four pro sports franchises in the Motor City are amid lengthy playoff droughts. The Tigers haven't qualified for the postseason in eight years. It's been seven years since the Red Wings last made the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lions narrowly missed the postseason last year, bringing their drought to six years. And the Pistons last made the playoffs four years ago.
That's a combined playoff drought of 25 years, which has to be the worst such ignominy among North America's major pro sports markets. It also makes what I'm about to say that much tougher of a pill to swallow.
The Tigers need to trade Rodriguez, and they need to do so as soon as possible.
At face value that may not make any sense to you.
"Why would we trade the best pitcher in baseball when we're the hottest team in baseball and within striking distance of a playoff spot?" you may wonder.
To understand why you must first understand that the Tigers' sudden entry into the ring of contenders is purely fool's gold. This is not an MLB playoff team. Hell, it's not even an above-.500 team, let alone an actual contender.
The numbers don't lie. Detroit is among the bottom three in virtually every team batting statistic. Their recent upswing has brought their overall batting average out of the MLB's cellar, but it's still just 24th at .234. Their power numbers are virtually nonexistent; only three teams have fewer home runs than the Tigers.
Outside of Rodriguez, Detroit's pitching hasn't been much better. Their team ERA is 19th overall at 4.46. Their starters' ERA is north of 6.
It's not just the stats, either. Use your eyes. Does this batting order look like one that belongs to an actual MLB team? Aside from the ghost of Miguel Cabrera and an admittedly rejuvenated Javy Baez, most baseball types not from Michigan have never heard of these guys. Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson may yet become solid everyday players, but the returns thus far have been awful. They're batting .262 and .241, respectively, both have three home runs and around 15 RBI, and neither of them have an .OPS at or above .700.
Recent events notwithstanding, this is a bad team. The Tigers run of late is a product of practically ubiquitous mediocre baseball through MLB, especially in the AL Central.
But moving Rodriguez could hasten the Detroit's transition from decade-long rebuild to legitimate contender status.