Eduardo Rodriguez has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after his nine-run disaster outing against the Rays Monday night.
This is...necessary. I won't say good. But necessary.
Rodriguez is clearly not right at the moment. He started the season on the disabled list, had a rough rehab stint, and suffered an injury setback right before he was ultimately called up to Boston. The call-up was likely fueled in no small part by desperation as the Sox tried to find answers in the horrible back-end of their rotation. Given the situation, it's easy to imagine the organization was simply willing to take their chances. If he was ready, great! If not, well, he would hardly be worse than Joe Kelly.
The intervening weeks have proven a couple of things. First: he very clearly is not ready. Second: the potential for harm here is real. Case in point, via Brian MacPherson:
Bogaerts stood on the mound after the homer with his arm on the shoulder of Rodriguez, imploring John Farrell to come get him.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) June 28, 2016
I don't claim to know what it is that so completely destroyed Daniel Bard. I fear, however, that this sort of hopelessness played as much of a role as anything physical. If not necessarily in precipitating his decline, then at least leaving him unable to escape from it.
Eduardo Rodriguez is an asset to be protected. He got hurt in spring. That sucks, but it's not exactly a shocking turn of events when someone gets injured in sports. He can come back from this just as good as before, and be a major contributor to the Red Sox. I don't know if that's later this year, or perhaps in 2017. But I'm fairly certain the path to that future will not be found by throwing him to the wolves for another short disaster. And I'm damn sure that's not going to help the team win more games.
For now? Aaron Wilkerson, perhaps. Or a trade. Or even Sean O'Sullivan. At this point, it's going to be hard to find someone who will pitch worse than Rodriguez, and whoever they do start next time around will be serving double duty by protecting the young lefty.