Detroit Tigers: Three Potential Francisco Rodriguez Trades

Jul 17, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) pitches in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) pitches in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Apr 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) pitches to the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning at Target Field. The Tigers win 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

Trade Partner: New York Yankees

Potential Deal: Detroit Tigers trade Francisco Rodriguez and a PTBNL to the Yankees for reliever Chasen Shreve and minor league players Dietrich Enns and Kyle Higashioka.

The Yankees decided to move on from the three-headed bullpen monster consisting of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.

While Betances remains, both Chapman and Miller were dealt at the trade deadline. With the duo’s salary coming off the books—not to mention Mark Teixeira’s contract—the Yankees suddenly have some financial flexibility.

They could splash some of that newfound cash on Rodriguez to fill the team’s closer role. Betances was a natural candidate to close games after Chapman and Miller were dealt. However, the 28-year-old struggled mightily, allowing 11 earned runs in just 18.1 innings pitched.

If New York wants to transition Betances back into being a setup man a position where he thrived (2.05 FIP, 13.8 strikeouts per nine frames) from 2014 to 2015, Rodriguez is an option at closer.

The Trade

In the potential deal, the Tigers would get three pieces who could step in and contribute right away next season.

Shreve is buried in New York’s bullpen pecking order behind the likes of Betances, Tyler Clippard, Tommy Layne and Nick Goody. What’s more, starters like Luis Cessa and Luis Severino could transition into relief roles.

Nonetheless, Shreve turned in a 14.2 swinging strike percentage and a 3.81 SIERA. Controllable through 2020, he’d give Brad Ausmus another late-inning option.

Enns and Higashioka are more depth options, but they be part of Detroit’s roster next year.

A 25-year-old pitcher who reached Triple-A for the first time last season, Enns thrived. The left-hander notched a 14-4 record and a 1.73 ERA.

He didn’t strikeout too many batters (8.3 per nine innings), but he could be on the outside looking in if the Yankees turn to free agency to fill out parts of their rotation.

Rounding out the deal is Higashioka, who batted .276 with an .847 OPS, 81 RBI, 55 runs scored, 24 doubles and 21 home runs in only 102 games split between Double-A and Triple-A.

With Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine and Brian McCann all ahead of him on the organizational depth chart, Higashioka may not find much Major League playing time next year. The backstop could find more at-bats in Detroit James McCann’s primary deputy.