Detroit Tigers: Francisco Rodriguez Back for 2017

Jun 30, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) celebrates after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) celebrates after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Good Detroit Tigers news arrived today: Al Avila decided to keep the closer on for another year. Francisco Rodriguez will be back in 2017. Several sources confirmed this exciting news.

Despite a few hiccups in unfortunate spots in his first season with the Detroit Tigers, Rodriguez had a solid 2016 season with the Tigers. In what had become a traditional sore spot in the Tigers bullpen, Rodriguez seemed to end the curse of the closer that plagued the Tigers for too many seasons.

K-Rod reached several milestones and he offered leadership to the young men in the pen. This signing shows that the Tigers are not selling the entire farm, at least to start the season.

As reported by Motor City Bengals in October, Francisco Rodriguez earned an impressive 89.8% save record in his 15th year in the MLB. He became the active leader in saves and he is sitting in the #4 spot in total saves overall. K-Rod finished with a WAR 1.1, which was the same as Aroldis Chapman and higher than the 0.0 WAR of 2016 saves-leader Zach Britton. Clearly, K-Rod has proved his value.

A Good Closer is Hard to Find

The Tigers have learned over the years that a good closer is hard to find. This is the reason that Avila kept him. According to the Macomb Daily‘s Matthew B. Mowery, Avila said: “We liked the job K-Rod did last season and the numbers show he was a reliable closer for us. He stabilizes the back end of our bullpen and provides veteran leadership to our younger bullpen arms.”

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Will K-Rod be around through the entire 2017 season? As the season continues, Avila and K-Rod will answer the question. The market for closing pitchers is limited and K-Rod has proven his value time and time again. As long as Rodriguez can continue to pitch like he did, he will retain some value that could be traded in August. Even though he will be entering his 16th year in the Major Leagues, he will only be 35 after his birthday in January. Mariano Rivera was 43 when he retired after 19 years with the New York Yankees.

How Long Will Frankie Stay in Detroit?

If the Tigers are going to begin to use sabermetrics to its advantage, K-Rod could have a slightly different role. What Joe Maddon did with Chapman in the World Series could be a sign of things to come for all MLB teams. Rodriguez only pitched in four four-out saves, but with the fact that he can pitch in high-leverage situations, he might show up in innings other than eight and nine.

Next: Who is Victor Alcantara?

Considering that the Tigers also have Bruce Rondon returning in 2017, a Rondon-Rodriguez one-two punch could be devasting for opposing teams. Avila did a good thing bringing back the veteran. Welcome back, Frankie!