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NY Mets: 9 under the radar free agents the Mets should target

NEW YORK - APRIL 07: The home run apple is seen before the New York Mets play the Florida Marlins on April 7, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 07: The home run apple is seen before the New York Mets play the Florida Marlins on April 7, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Oct 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) pitches against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Eduardo Rodriguez is one of the most interesting pitchers available this offseason. He could eat a lot of innings for the Mets.

The southpaw finished the regular season with 157.2 innings pitched, 172 hits allowed, 86 earned runs allowed, 47 walks given up, and 185 strikeouts. His ERA was 4.74, but considering he had a FIP of 3.32, he was hurt massively by the Red Sox weak defense. Even so, he had an ERA+ of 128 and a WAR of 3.8.

Rodriguez is an innings eater. He’s only had one season where he didn’t reach 120 innings pitched and that was in 2016, when he started the season late due to a knee injury. He’s also never had a season where he didn’t make at least 20 starts. He did not play in 2020 due to long-term complications from his COVID-19 infection. He silenced any doubters about his health this season by making 31 starts.

E-Rod is a ground ball specialist. 43.2% of his outs came via ground balls and he is really good at coaxing weak contact (90th percentile average exit velocity). Considering the Red Sox have an infield featuring Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Bobby Dalbec, inducing ground balls is not a recipe for success on that team. However, give him a better defense, perhaps one including Francisco Lindor, and you’ll see that ERA come down closer to his FIP.

Considering that the Red Sox already have thin pitching, there’s a chance that they extend Rodriguez a qualifying offer. However, I think giving up that draft pick would be worth it for him. He’s going to start every fifth day, go deep into games, and give the team a chance to win.

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