'I called Pudge': Tigers take a flier on RH Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall-of-Fame catcher
Detroit — Tigers general manager Al Avila didn't mess around with peripheral scouting reports when he was doing his homework on San Francisco Giants right-hander Dereck Rodriguez.
He went straight to the source.
"I called Pudge today and he gave me some good insight on what he thought went on there," Avila said.
Pudge, of course, is Hall-of-Famer and former Tigers Ivan Rodriguez, who also happens to be the father of Dereck Rodriguez, whom the Tigers claimed off waivers Monday.
"We thought with some coaching and some effort on his part we can get him back to where he was," Avila said. "He's still young, still has some upside."
Rodriguez, 28, was designated for assignment by the Giants this weekend after he made two appearances in relief this season. The second was a disastrous five-run, seven-hit outing against the Athletics on Aug. 16.
He looked nothing like the pitcher that broke into the big leagues in 2018 posted a 6-4 record with a 2.81 ERA in 18 starts. He hasn’t been that effective since, posting an ERA just under 6.00 last season, allowing 23 home runs and 39 walks in 103 innings.
"I talked to Bruce Bochy (former Giants manager) and he raved about his make-up, his work ethic and how competitive he is," Avila said. "He was surprised the Giants put him out there."
Rodriguez features a four-seam fastball (93-94 mph), curveball and cutter. He has above-average spin rates on both the curve (2,856 rpm) and cutter (2,464 rpm).
"Obviously, he was struggling," Avila said. "But we feel we have some good insight and some good information, I talked to him myself and he seems really excited about a new opportunity and changing the way he was doing things, mechanically speaking."
Rodriguez will report to the Tigers alternate training site in Toledo. They had a couple of open spots in their 60-man player pool after they shut down pitching prospects Alex Faedo and Matt Manning with forearm strains. The 40-man roster is now full, too — with Daz Cameron, Dario Agrazal and Jordan Zimmermann all on the long-term injured list.