The Tigers claimed the son of an MLB legend off waivers
Pudge Rodriguez signed with the Detroit Tigers in the winter if 2004, marking the first big-name free agent addition for a struggling franchise in quite some time. Just a year prior, the Tigers nearly made MLB history as the worst team in the history of the sport, going 43-119.
Dave Dombrowski and those Tigers had nowhere to go but up, and by 2006 were American League champions thanks to a walk-off home run by Magglio Ordoñez. Yet, it was Pudge’s bold decision that started it all.
“When people ask me where we started to climb from and started to turn the corner, there’s no question it started on one very important day, heading into the 2004 season,” Dombrowski said of Pudge’s signing.
The Tigers are keeping that sentiment in the family, and while young Dereck Rodriguez is unlikely to have the same impact, he could be a surprisingly effective addition for a team once again on the rise.
Dereck Rodriguez will report to the Tigers’ alternate training site
Whether it’s for good luck or actual bullpen depth, the Tigers claimed Rodriguez off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Rodriguez had an excellent rookie season with the Giants in 2018, pitching to a 2.18 ERA in over 115 innings. Since then, however, he hasn’t been the same pitcher, and San Francisco is tired of waiting for a return to prominence.
“We thought with some coaching and some effort from his part, we can get him back to where he was,” Al Avila said.
The Tigers hope they rejuvenate the young righty. For once, Detroit possesses a strong ‘pen, and adding another capable arm to such a group would be valuable. It helps that they talked to Bruce Bochy and Pudge before making this call, per Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic.
There is no such thing as too much pitching depth. In such a complicated, unpredictable season, the Tigers made the right call.