Tigers name top free agent acquisition Opening Day starter

The Detroit Tigers excitedly announce their MLB Opening Day 2022 starter on the mound, and it’s a top free agent acquisition from the offseason — Eduardo Rodriguez. 

The Detroit Tigers knew they needed to be proactive in free agency this offseason, and they proved they could be when they signed shortstop Javier Baez to a six-year, $140 million deal.

But that wasn’t the only significant offseason acquisition the Tigers inked before the lockout began. Two weeks earlier, Detroit brought in former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, signing him to a five-year deal worth $77 million. Now, Rodriguez will start against the Chicago White Sox for the first Opening Day start of his six-year MLB career.

The 28-year-old pitcher is the highest-paid and most experienced pitcher for Detroit, which is why he was tapped to be the Opening Day pitcher long before the lockout began.

Eduardo Rodriguez picked as the Opening Day starter for the Detroit Tigers

Tigers managers A.J. Hinch explained how the team fully intends to roll with Rodriguez on Opening Day.

“(Rodriguez is) going to be the Opening Day starter,” Hinch said. “We’ll name that from the get-go. He’s got four starts to get ready. The only thing that can change that is a hiccup in the program. I worry about rain. I worry about a lot of different things in the next 20 days. But we lined him up on purpose that way, for him to be the Opening Day starter.”

With the Red Sox, Rodriguez enjoyed an illustrious career, winning the World Series in 2018 and finishing sixth in Cy Young voting in 2019. Then, 2020 proved difficult, as Rodriguez was diagnosed with myocarditis and sat out for the entire year. When he was scheduled to start for 2021 MLB Opening Day, he was scratched with a dead arm in late March.

Ideally, opening for Detroit will open up a fresh chapter for Rodriguez as he enjoys a long-delayed Opening Day start. After all, Rodriguez is “going to be the ace” for the Tigers, according to his former Red Sox catchers.