Breaking News: Return of the K-Rod
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com broke the news via Twitter, so you know it’s good.
Francisco Rodriguez has agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers with a team option for a third year. (Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Scott Boras agreed to a deal with Mark Attanasio, but that’s an argument for a different time.)
K-Rod has agreement with brewers 2-yr deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
k-rod will also have a team option for 3rd year on #brewers deal. $ not known.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
Rodriguez closed games for the Brewers last year, stepping in (after stepping on a cactus) for the injured Jim Henderson. He posted 44 saves and pitched mostly effectively, but he was hammered by the long ball at a frightening clip. He was a streaky performer, with his struggles coming in bunches for the most part (confirmation bias alert!), but still can be an effective pitcher. He needs to maintain his fastball command more consistently though to aid him in avoiding posting another career-worst home runs allowed total. For the record, it was 14 last year in just 68.0 innings pitched. That’s a 1.9 HR/9, math majors.
The ISO against his fastball in 2014 was .301. That’s terrifying. Still, Rodriguez did post a career best WHIP at 0.985 and struck out more than a batter an inning en route to a 3.04 ERA across 69 games.
But for this multi-year marriage to work out, the home run ball needs to exit from Rodriguez’s repertoire.
Tom Haudricourt tweeted full contract details.
When K-Rod deal with #Brewers is complete, he will get $3.5 M in ’15, $5.5 M in ’16 with $4 M deferred. Club option in ’17 for $6 M.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) February 27, 2015
Rumor: Francisco Rodriguez “Agrees to Sign”…Somewhere
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, free agent relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez won’t be a free agent much longer.
Spencer tweeted out the following blurb Thursday morning.
K-Rod not coming to #marlins. Has agreed to go elsewhere.
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) February 26, 2015
With the word that Rodriguez isn’t headed to Miami, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports checked in on whether the Blue Jays were the team who had successfully wooed the man they call K-Rod.
it is not jays for krod. for closer, still plan to go with cecil ot other in-house and save $ remaining.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
So combine those reports with what FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal revealed the other day…
Sources: #Brewers owner Mark Attanasio talking with K-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, about signing the free-agent reliever.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2015
…and it certainly seems as though the Brewers could be reconciling with their most recent closer.
2014 Milwaukee Brewers 25-Man Roster Projection
We’re on the precipice of Opening Day, but there are still some decisions awaiting the front office staff of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Most pressing, if not most important, is how they will construct the 25-man roster to begin the 2014 regular season. In this, they’ve got some options.
Let’s assume a couple of things off the top here. First, a standard 13 hitter, 12 pitcher roster split. Second, that we’re all aware that things will change throughout the season and plenty of the players who don’t make the Opening Day roster will don a Brewers uniform at some point in 2014.
I’ll lay out the different roster groupings and then explain what went into my decisions thereafter. Cool?
With that, to the list!
Starting Pitchers (5)
- Yovani Gallardo
- Kyle Lohse
- Marco Estrada
- Matt Garza
- Wily Peralta
I did my best educated guess at the order here too. It was announced that Gallardo has Opening Day honors and that Lohse will follow in Game 2. It was also hinted that Garza could pitch the opener in Boston, but that isn’t for sure yet…at least not publicly. Couple that with how well Estrada has pitched and he’s the superior choice against Atlanta in Game 3 than is Peralta.
The wrinkle here is that the Brewers have the opportunity to start the season with four starters because of the off-days scheduled. They don’t need a fifth starting pitcher until mid-April. If they do that, Peralta would start with Nashville to stay on rotation.
Relief Pitchers (7)
(with one more starting on DL)
- Jim Henderson
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Will Smith*
- Brandon Kintzler
- Wei-Chung Wang*
- Rob Wooten
- Alfredo Figaro (Alternative: Tyler Thornburg)
- Tom Gorzelanny* (DL)
Henderson is the incumbent closer. Rodriguez was brought in on a MLB deal and has the longest track record out of any of the options. Smith has been great this spring after being acquired in trade. Kintzler was very good last year and has a spot locked up. Wang makes it in part because of how well he’s thrown but also because of the Rule V circumstances. Wooten pitched well enough in his time last year that he gets one of my “open” jobs. He’s certainly in a fungible position, though, as he’s got minor league options remaining.
For the final active spot, I’m going with Alfredo Figaro. I know that Tyler Thornburg is under consideration for that job, but I think that they’ll realize that he’s more valuable staying stretched out at Nashville in order to cover the inevitable first injury to the starting rotation than he is in pitching at best every other day in Milwaukee as the long man. Figaro filled the long relief role admirably last year as his stuff played up out of the bullpen.
Wooten, Figaro, and Thornburg all have at least one minor league option remaining so there’s no real consideration of roster depth when making any decisions concering the three. And I think we’ll be seeing all of them pitch at Miller Park in 2014 at one point or another.
As for non-roster invitee Zach Duke, I think that the Brewers have liked what they’ve seen but with Wang making good (so far), there really isn’t room for Duke to begin the season. The veteran lefty is on a minor-league deal, so most likely he’ll simply be assigned to Nashville to start.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Martin Maldonado
They’re the only two on the 40-man and that’s because they’re the two best in the organization. Nothing more needs to be said here.
- Mark Reynolds
- Rickie Weeks
- Jean Segura
- Aramis Ramirez
- Juan Francisco** (Alternative: Lyle Overbay)
- Scooter Gennett**
- Jeff Bianchi (Alternative: Elian Herrera)
Reynolds was signed to a minor-league deal for roster considerations at the time. He’s got a job. Weeks is the longest-tenured player in the organization right now and isn’t moveable (yet). Segura and Ramirez are obvious inclusions. Gennett comes along if they go with two second basemen, which has been the hottest talk of late.
Despite all the talk to the contrary lately, I still think that if they must choose between them, Francisco’s potential, relative youth, power, and increased patience this spring outweight Overbay’s veteran savvy, locker room presence, and far superior defense. That said, I can absolutely see a scenario in which they trade Francisco for an asset and keep Overbay. Maybe I’m projecting Francisco simply out of hope.
The other hotly contested job has been the utility infielder role. Jeff Bianchi filled the role last year with middling success. The biggest challenger to Bianchi’s incumbency has been the 40-man rostered Elian Herrera, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the winter. They’ve both hit, they both have defensive versatility. The differences that matter: Bianchi is a better defender at shortstop. Herrera is a much more natural outfielder (which is big when you’ve only got four rostered). Herrera is a switch hitter. Bianchi is out of options; Herrera has one remaining. It is that last point that I think will be the deciding factor. Herrera will start at Nashville and would absolutley be the first man called upon should an injury befall any infielder on the big league roster.
For the record: Should they decide that they can forego two second basemen to start the year to even the roster out a bit a more, I think Herrera would make the club over a fifth true outfielder.
- Khris Davis
- Carlos Gomez
- Ryan Braun
- Logan Schafer**
Another easy prediction. Schafer could see some time starting in left field, but as the only man on the projected roster that can backup centerfield, he’ll likely be providing coverage from the bench more often than not.
* - Throws left-handed ** - Bats left-handed ---
So there you have it.
I welcome feedback and want to hear your opinions. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m overlooking an important detail or better player? Look down there…a “Comments” section.
Hot Stove Report: Melvin Gets His Coveted Veteran Reliever
The Milwaukee Brewers signed free agent right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a one-year contract today.
The announcement was made by President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin.
Rodriguez, 32, is 41-36 with a 2.70 ERA and 304 saves in 730 relief appearances with LA of Anaheim (2002-08), New York-NL (2009-11), Milwaukee (2011-13) and Baltimore (2013). His 304 career saves are tied for 21st on the all-time Major League list (with Jeff Montgomery). His 62 saves with the Angels in 2008 are a Major League single-season record. Rodriguez is 7-8 with a 3.15 ERA and 13 saves in 134 games as a Brewer.
He was originally acquired by Milwaukee from New York-NL on July 12, 2011, along with cash, in exchange for two players to be named (pitchers Daniel Herrera and Adrian Rosario). He was traded by Milwaukee to Baltimore last season on July 23 in exchange for third baseman Nicky Delmonico.
To make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, the Brewers designated right-handed pitcher Donovan Hand for assignment.
Trade Season Rumor: Two Brewers Drawing Known Interest
Good morning, and happy July, Brewer Nation!
It is officially trade season in Major League Baseball as the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros were all involved in moves over the past couple of days. Trade winds are beginning to pick up speed all around the league, and as has been documented numerous times by a multitude of baseball scribes, the Milwaukee Brewers could be at the center of a lot of activity. Whether that happens is truly up to some decisions by Doug Melvin (likely with Mark Attanasio’s input) about the short-term goals of the team.
Scouts have begun showing up in earnest at Brewers games, many centering around the starts of Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse. Some of that is due diligence and “normal coverage” but some of it isn’t.
I was made aware of some specific interest in a pair of Brewers players late on Tuesday night which I’m passing along now, but not before the sadly necessary caveat that:
- I’M NOT REPORTING IMMINENT TRADES!
- I’M ALSO NOT SAYING THAT THERE HAVE EVEN BEEN WORTHWHILE DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE TEAMS ABOUT THE PLAYERS YET.
All I’m saying is that these teams are known to have shown interest in the players to which I’m about to connect them.
This first one is easily guessable based on the need of the team and has been discussed by myself and others on Twitter already.
The Detroit Tigers have shown interest in Francisco Rodriguez.
The Tigers’ bullpen is perilously thin at the back end, what with their desperate attempt to get something out of Jose Valverde this season after initially choosing not to bring him back following his late 2012 implosions. K-Rod has pitched very well for Milwaukee, and he’s on a cheap deal for the rest of 2013. The Brewers should be extra motivated to move Rodriguez to the right bidder given that he’s only on a one-year deal and will likely command a much higher price tag in free agency after the season.
Two teams are tied to the next player I’m discussing tonight.
Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics have shown interest in Norichika Aoki.
Given that Aoki is controllable at an inexpensive rate in 2014, any team acquiring the former multi-time Japanese batting champion will be getting a year and a half of service out of him at the minimum.
In Oakland’s case, they don’t have an immediate need in their outfield but Aoki has proven to be a good hitter that would absolutely be useful for them. It could be a move with an eye on 2014 as well, however, as Coco Crisp is a free agent following this season.
For Tampa, they entered Tuesday just 2.0 games behind in their division and are barely getting any offensive production out of Matt Joyce at this point. Aoki would immediately upgrade their offense out of that lineup spot. Aoki has shown the ability to hit either first or second in a lineup, and both of those spots are currently filled normally by under-performing hitters.
So there you have it. Two ideas to wrap your minds around and see what you think about them. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know that actual discussions have taken place between these teams and Milwaukee, so I don’t know what (if any) possible return the Brewers could expect from these possible trade partners.
Brewers Have Spoken To Agents of Veteran Relief Pair
That is to say that most rumors passed along need to be taken with the caveat that very little that from a transactional standpoint that is discussed in baseball actually happens in baseball.
In other words, the exact thing that I’m about to tell you has happened, but that’s all that has happened to this point. It may or may not progress from this point, but that’s why we pay attention.
(Also, I usually do my best to get confirmation before I pass something along, but do only have this from one person right now. That person has proven extremely reliable, but still, it’s only the one and you deserve to know that up front.)
The Brewers have been in contact with the respective agents for two veteran relief pitchers. The contact was described as a “touch base”, kind of a way to see where they were at in case the Brewers decided to make a formal offer. That’s what I was told yesterday.
Today, I’m told that an offer will be presented to one of the two pitchers (if it hasn’t been already) but based on the circumstances it’s unlikely that the pitcher will accept the offer, at least not at the current dollar amount. That’s because the circumstances I mentioned are that the same pitcher reportedly had a higher offer on the table from a different club and turned it down last week.
The pitcher who hasn’t received an offer (and I hope he doesn’t based on how his latest work in MLB went) is irrelevant today, in my opinion. He’s a former Brewer, but I’ll bring him back up if Milwaukee decides, for some reason, to make him an offer.
The other pitcher is also a former Brewers reliever, much more recently than his counterpart in fact. He was lights out for much of his first few months before succumbing to the same plague as the rest of the 2012 bullpen.
Yes, I’m talking about Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez.
Could Rodriguez come in like he did back in 2011 and provide a spark to the Milwaukee bullpen? Or would his lackluster performances from 2012 carryover into this year season? For what it’s worth, K-Rod looked pretty bad during the World Baseball Classic while pitching for his native Venezuela. That being said, there could be a number of innocuous reasons for those performances.
Will Rodriguez come back to Milwaukee though? It’s no secret that he relishes a chance to close games, something that the Brewers are currently relying on Jim Henderson for, but the other club that reportedly offered him more money had that role to offer as well. That doesn’t bode well for Doug Melvin and company, assuming the report I heard is 100% accurate. Then again, K-Rod surprised many people by accepting the Brewers’ offer of arbitration after the 2011 season as well.
Again, just something to keep in the back of your mind. He may sign, he may not. He may decline, he may not even officially respond. If he does decline, you can expect a denial from the Brewers who understandably wouldn’t want the guys in the current bullpen to worry unnecessarily.
Thanks for reading. If you didn’t pick up your grain of salt on the way in, the shaker is by the door. Help yourself.