The Detroit Tigers have acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez to bolster the team’s anemic bullpen.
In exchange for Rodriguez, the Tigers will send infield prospect Javier Betancourt to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Detroit’s official Twitter feed mentions the teams swapping a player-to-be-named-later each. However, MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweeted that Tigers’ general manager Al Avila said “It could happen that way, but it may not. … It’s complicated” in regard to the team sending a player-to-be-named-later to Milwaukee.
Adam McCalvy, also of MLB.com, tweeted that per Brewers’ general manager David Stearns, the “Trade will be K-Rod for two prospects.”
While the teams may end up swapping players to be determined at a later date, the core of the deal remains a Rodriguez for Betancourt swap.
On the surface, this seems like a brilliant acquisition for Avila and for the Tigers. The man known as “K-Rod” has appeared in six All Star games and has finished in the top six in Cy Young and MVP voting during his illustrious career. Since breaking into the major leagues in 2002, Rodriguez has amassed 386 saves and 1067 strikeouts in 892.1 innings pitched. The former Brewer has finished 121 games over the past two seasons, converting 82 saves in the process. His ERA over that span is a sparkling 2.66. While racking up those 82 saves, Rodriguez only blew seven saves. Joe Nathan blew seven alone in 2014 with less than half the number of saves.
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After Jose Valverde and Nathan’s struggles, it seems as if the Tigers have found a reliable closer.
The newest Tiger also comes relatively cheap in terms of salary and what was dealt to acquire him.
Rodriguez will only count for $5.5 million against the cap in 2016 and has a $6 million option for the 2017 season. This is a bargain compared to what free agents Joakim Soria and Darren O’Day are reportedly seeking. Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Soria wants “a contract in the vicinity of 3 years, $27 million.” Sources have told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that O’Day is “asking for four-year deal in $28M to $36M range.”
Just to compare the overall stats, Rodriguez has 386 career saves. Soria and O’Day have a combined 216.
In the trade, Avila only surrendered middle infielder Javier Betancourt and a potential player-to-be-named-later.
Betancourt shows some promise as a future big-league regular, but he is blocked by Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and Dixon Machado. While he does have potential, he may not have as much as Iglesias or Machado over the long haul.
Regardless, Rodriguez has arrived in Detroit and will solidify a previously anemic bullpen.
Rejoice Detroit Tigers’ fans. Al Avila has found a closer.