MLB free-agency grades - Detroit Tigers add Eduardo Rodriguez, make first offseason splash

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The Detroit Tigers made the first splashy move of the free-agent season, agreeing with former Boston Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez on a reported five-year, $77 million deal plus incentives. Rodriguez can reportedly opt out of the deal after two years.

With the offseason off to a running start, it's time to hand out our first grade of the winter.

The Tigers needed a source of stable, veteran innings for their youth-laden rotation, and that is Rodriguez's MO. Detroit's hopes for moving from the improved team it was in 2021 to the contention tier in 2022 are largely tied to the development of its young pitchers.

A couple of years down the line, if the front of the Tigers' rotation is headed by Rodriguez, that's a sign of trouble, because it means that none of the group of Casey Mize, Matt Manning or Tarik Skubal has become a front-line starter. The Rodriguez signing aside, it's important to view this as a move to augment the staff the Tigers have been building, not as an attempt to sign an ace. Detroit's fortunes are still tied to the continued progression of their homegrown pitchers.