The qualifying offer this year is worth $18.4 million. Rodriguez has until Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. ET to accept or decline.
If Rodriguez accepts the offer, it means he would return to the Red Sox in 2022 and have a chance to test the free-agent waters next offseason. Even if he declines, Rodriguez could still re-sign with Boston.
By extending Rodriguez a qualifying offer, the Red Sox have ensured they will receive Draft compensation should the 28-year-old sign somewhere else.
As a team that does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury-tax threshold the previous season, the Red Sox would receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B.
“You know, obviously it was not a perfect year for him, but we feel strongly enough about him and what he's shown he can do and what we think he can do going forward to feel like we were in good position extending him this QO,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “We just thought it made sense for us. And however it turns out, [we felt] that the organization would be in a better position having offered the QO than not.”
The decision that Rodriguez faces is an interesting one -- not nearly as cut and dried as for many players who receive the qualifying offer.
Though Rodriguez isn’t coming off his best season (13-8, 4.74 ERA), his underlying numbers -- including a career-best FIP of 3.32 -- show that it was better than you think. Also, starting pitching is a crucial part of any team and Rodriguez is still in the prime of his career.
“Recognizing the year didn’t play out even as I think he would have wanted it to, there was definitely reasons for optimism under the surface, as has been well documented,” said Bloom. “There are certain ways in which we felt he was a little snakebit or we didn't have some of our best defensive games behind him.”
Rodriguez pitched some of his best baseball down the stretch, delivering the Red Sox a crucial win in Game No. 160 of the regular season while also turning in strong performances in Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Rays and Game 3 of the AL Championship Series against the Astros.
If Rodriguez was coming off a better season, there would be no chance he would accept the offer. But in this case, it is intriguing because he could opt to come back to the Red Sox for one more season and try to put himself in a better place as a free agent a year from now.
Also, the $18.4 million Rodriguez could earn from the Red Sox in 2022 (should he accept) is a nice bump from the $8.3 million he earned this past season.
Even if Rodriguez rejects the qualifying offer, the Red Sox could still wind up signing him to a multi-year deal.
“Generally speaking, as you guys know, I don’t get too much into the subject of contract negotiations,” said Bloom. “But I think it’s fair to say, and I don’t think it would be a surprise -- it’s backed up by offering the QO -- we would love to have him here for a longer period of time if it lines up for everybody. It’s fair to expect that is something we’re going to explore simultaneously.”
Rodriguez came up through the Orioles’ farm system but the Red Sox acquired him in a July 31, 2014, trade for setup reliever Andrew Miller.
In six Major League seasons, Rodriguez is 64-39 with a 4.16 ERA. He has 892 strikeouts and 294 walks over 856 2/3 innings.