After career year, E-Rod 'would love to stay'

November 24th, 2019

MIAMI -- After being hampered by knee injuries for most of his Major League career, enjoyed a breakout season with the Red Sox in 2019.

The 26-year-old lefty finished sixth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award after posting career bests in wins (19), ERA (3.81), strikeouts (213), innings thrown (203.1) and starts (34). Those 34 starts were the most in the AL, and he finished seventh among big league pitchers with a 6.0 bWAR.

“It was a very important step for me, because for the first time I was able to pitch an entire season,” Rodríguez said, in Spanish, at the 12th annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic in Miami. “That was my goal when the season started, [to make] 30 starts and throw more than 200 innings, and I was able to do it. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

Rodríguez made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 2015. Prior to this year, the most innings he had thrown in a season was 137 1/3, and he had never made more than 24 starts in a single campaign. Staying healthy, says Rodríguez, was his focus.

“I matured with regards to training and preparing for games,” he said.

The Venezuelan-born Rodríguez was by far the most consistent starter on a Boston team that finished third in the American League East in 2019 with an 84-78 record. While Rodríguez flourished, the rest of the Red Sox rotation, which featured the likes of , , and , posted a 5.33 ERA.

A year after winning the World Series, the Red Sox find themselves at a crossroads. They recently hired former Tampa Bay senior vice president Chaim Bloom as their new head of baseball operations as they look to bring their payroll below the first Competitive Balance tax threshold of $208 million for 2020. As a result, 2018 American League Most Valuable Player and fellow outfielder have emerged as trade candidates.

But even though Boston’s focus appears to be elsewhere, Rodríguez, who originally signed with the Orioles in 2010 as an international free agent and was traded to the Red Sox in 2014, is ready to discuss his future in New England. His agent, Scott Pucino, told the Boston Globe during the General Managers Meetings that Rodríguez “would love to remain a Red Sox.” The southpaw, who earned $4.9 million in 2019 and has two years of arbitration left before becoming a free agent, confirmed that sentiment this weekend.

“I would love to stay with Boston,” said Rodríguez. “If they offer me an extension and we come to an agreement, I would love that. That's where I began my career and I would love to finish it there.”