Eduardo Rodriguez’s agent blames Tigers for botched Dodgers trade

Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a trade centered on LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, only for it to fall apart in the 11th hour. The southpaw’s agent is subtly placing blame. 

The trade deadline felt anticlimactic to many MLB fans. One reason was the Detroit Tigers‘ failure to move Eduardo Rodriguez, who was considered a virtual lock to get moved before the Aug. 1 deadline.

E-Rod ultimately stayed put, but not for a lack of trying on the Tigers’ part. Detroit agreed to terms on a deal to send Rodriguez to the Dodgers, only for him to invoke an obscure clause in his contract to block a trade to Los Angeles.

For the Tigers, it represents a botched opportunity to cash in on their most valuable asset before he potentially hits free agency in the winter. For the Dodgers, it was a whole lot of work put toward a trade that went kaput at the final buzzer. The Dodgers were in search of an upgrade to their starting rotation and left the deadline empty-handed.

That’s ultimately Rodriguez’s right — the no-trade clause was written into his contract — but both sides were left stunned by the outcome. Rodriguez’s agent offered up an explanation, with a bit of shade.

Eduardo Rodriguez’s agent explains why Tigers-Dodgers trade fell apart

It’s impossible to blame Rodriguez for valuing stability for his family. Gene Mato, the southpaw’s agent, makes a strong point about the nature of professional sports. We tend to hold athletes up on pedestals as these mythic creatures who sit above the struggles of the common man, but it would be difficult for any sane person to spend so much time away from home, moving from city to city.

Rodriguez’s family has settled into Detroit and he loves the organization. For him to want to stay with the Tigers instead of ring-chasing with the Dodgers is honestly a win for small-market teams everywhere. It’s a credit to the Detroit organization and how the Tigers treat players.

That said, it’s hard to imagine the relationship won’t be a little strained after this snafu — especially if Rodriguez exercises his contract opt-out ahead of next season. The Tigers could lose him for nothing in a competitive free agent pitching market. That’s why the team tried to trade him in the first place, and it’s a bit strange that so much time and effort was put into a deal that was ultimately vetoed. Was there no indication from Rodriguez that hey, maybe this won’t work?

Well, Mato appears to take a slight jab at the Tigers organization toward the end of his statement:

"“As for the Dodgers in particular, once I was granted permission to speak with them regarding the trade, we did our best to come up with a way to make it happen where everyone was comfortable with the outcome. Unfortunately, we just ran out of time.”"

The key phrase here is “once I was granted permission,” which suggests that perhaps Detroit didn’t allow Rodriguez and his agent enough time to speak with the Dodgers and map out the logistics of a trade.

Scott Harris was hired as President of Baseball Operations in Detroit last September. This is a considerable blunder in his first year on the job. The Tigers are building deliberately for the future. Letting the Rodriguez trade fall apart, and with it Detroit’s best chance at transforming their best free agent into a farm system boon, could irreparably damage their rebuild.

The Tigers will probably attempt to negotiate a new long-term contract with Rodriguez, who has been tremendous on the mound all season: 2.96 ERA with a 1.049 WHIP and 96 strikeouts compared to 77 hits allowed. The 30-year-old clearly has a fondness for, or at least a comfort with Detroit. And, at 30 years old, he should have plenty of productive baseball left up his sleeve.

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