Red Sox Decline Club Option on Joely Rodriguez for 2024 Season
The Boston Red Sox have made the decision to decline their club option on left-handed pitcher Joely Rodriguez for the 2024 season. Instead of exercising the $4.25 million option, the team will pay Rodriguez a $500,000 buyout, allowing him to become a free agent.
While Rodriguez initially seemed like an intriguing addition to the Red Sox roster when he signed a $2 million guarantee last offseason, his performance in the 2023 season did not live up to expectations. Prior to joining Boston, Rodriguez had shown promise during his time with the Rangers, Yankees, and Mets, posting a combined 4.28 ERA in 119 games, along with an impressive 3.14 FIP and a solid 25.5% strikeout rate.
Unfortunately, Rodriguez’s 2023 season was plagued by injuries. He started the year on the injured list due to an oblique issue and later dealt with a shoulder strain and recurring hip problems that ultimately ended his season prematurely. In just 11 innings pitched for the Red Sox, Rodriguez allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and six walks, while striking out 14.
As Rodriguez enters the open market, there is still potential for him to be a valuable bullpen asset for a team in the 2024 season if he can regain his health. However, considering his injury-riddled campaign in 2023 and his past performance that has been closer to average than exceptional, it is likely that Rodriguez will have to settle for a minor league deal as he enters his age-32 season.
Red Sox Bullpen Outlook
Looking ahead to the Red Sox bullpen, the team already has a solid foundation with the return of Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin for late-inning duties. Additionally, pitchers like Garrett Whitlock and Josh Winckowski provide further depth.
However, with both Rodriguez and Richard Bleier set to hit the open market this winter, it is reasonable to speculate whether the Red Sox will seek another left-handed relief option to complement Brennan Bernardino in the bullpen. The free agent market offers several possibilities, including experienced setup arms like Matt Moore and Will Smith.