The Tigers have reintroduced left-handers Eduardo Rodriguez from the restricted list, tweets El Extra Base’s Daniel Alvarez-Montes. right-handed Smart Peralta was intended for use in a corresponding move.
Rodriguez, 29, was handed a five-year, $77 million deal in the offseason and the Tigers were hoping he could be an experienced anchor of their fledgling rotation. Detroit had debuted many promising young starters in previous seasons, including Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tariq Skubal and other. It was hoped that these younger ones, along with Rodriguez, could give the club a strong rotation and help them emerge from their years of rebuilding.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law was applied to the Tigers with the most stringent conditions this season, with their rotation heavily targeted. Mize only made two starts before ending up on the injured list and eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action this year and probably for most of next year. Manning has since returned but missed almost four months due to shoulder problems after making just five starts so far this year. Skubal stayed healthy for a while and made 21 starts, but recently underwent flexor tendon surgery that will end his 2022 and likely keep him out of action for part of 2023 as well.
As for Rodriguez, he ended up on the injury list in May with a chest sprain. He began a rehab assignment in early June but was then blacklisted over a personal matter that was later reported to be a marital issue. He returned in early August to begin another rehab spell and worked his way back up to a starter’s workload ahead of today’s return. In the end, Rodriguez spent just over two months on the banned list, during which time he didn’t take a spot on the 40-man list and didn’t earn a salary. Before that extended absence, he made eight starts for Detroit and registered a 4.38 ERA in 39 innings.
With the club’s rotation being so snake-like throughout the year, they’ve had to work through various backup plans throughout the season. One of them was 33-year-old Peralta, who signed a minor-league deal during the offseason. He was added to the roster in mid-April and appeared in 28 games. In 38 1/3 innings a year, he has a 2.58 ERA, not missing at-bats entirely, but missing at least the most important part. His 19% strikeout rate is below the league average, but he’s in the 89th percentile for barrel percentage. Perhaps his 5.6% HR/FB rate is less than half his career rate because he keeps hitters off balance, which helps keep his ERA low.
Despite these solid results, Peralta will go to the waiver wire in the coming days as the trading deadline is now behind us. Manager AJ Hinch spoke to reporters about today’s moves, including Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, having declared that they want to use the rest of the season to evaluate younger pitchers. “We give Smart Peralta a chance to pitch somewhere else while we look at some folks who are more likely to be here,” Hinch said.
Hinch explained that too Daniel Norris and Garret Hill is moved to the bullpen as the club has several days off and can survive a few weeks on a four-man rotation. In Hill’s case, it’s about limiting his innings on the track to avoid overloading him. The club’s rotation initially consists of Rodriguez, Manning, Tyler Alexander and Drew Hutchison.