The MLB free agent market has widely been expected to remain pretty slow until the negotiations regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement come to an end. Teams and players will want to know what the rules of the game are going to be and be able to leverage every advantage they can in contract talks.
That said, there has been quite a bit of buzz around some free agents including those that have qualifying offers attached to their free agent candidacies. There does appear to be at least SOME teams and SOME players that want to get a deal done before the expected lockout and CBA talks. Case in point:
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and the Detroit Tigers are in agreement on a five-year deal with between $77 million and $80 million, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2021
Despite having the $18.4 million qualifying offer attached to him (which means the team that signs him will have to forfeit a draft pick) as well as all of the labor uncertainty, Eduardo Rodriguez found his free agent market to be very robust. While Rodriguez’s numbers don’t jump off the page with a 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 157.2 innings last year in addition to missing the 2020 campaign with myocarditis that was the result of COVID-19, he does strike out a fair number of batters and the Tigers were far from the only team that was in on him this offseason.
Rodriguez did also outperform some predictions for what his contract would end up being as MLB Trade Rumors expected him to fetch a five year, $70 million deal. While the Tigers may not be QUITE ready to contend in 2022, the length of the contract does seem to coincide with Detroit’s competitive window and after a surprisingly decent 2021 and a ton of help coming from the minor leagues, the Tigers are the team on the rise.