The Detroit Tigers have made their first big acquisition of the offseason acquiring closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for minor league infielder Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later.
Rodriguez saved 82 games for the Brewers over the last two seasons (a 92% conversion rate), and was named to the National League All-Star team both years. But saves and accolades aside, Rodriguez continued to put up the stellar numbers he has been known for throughout his career.
In 125 innings across the 2014 and 2015 seasons, K-Rod has posted a 2.66 ERA with a 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings rate and an admirable 2.1 walks per inning rate. He has had a bit of an issue with home runs (allowing 14 in 2014 and 6 in 2015), but hopefully that problem will be mitigated with a move to Comerica Park.
According to Cot’s Contracts, Rodriguez is owed $7.5 million in 2016 and comes with a $6 million team option (with a $2 million buyout) for 2017. According to Tony Paul of the Detroit News, the Tigers made overtures to Joakim Soria, but his asking price is steeper than they want to pay.
The Tigers will be paying a total of $13.5 million if they keep Rodriguez for both years — the same as Soria was asking — but in this trade the Tigers also had to give up a legitimate (if somewhat limited) prospect.
That brings K-Rod’s overall price to something higher than Soria would have cost, but the Tigers obviously feel (and I tend to agree) that they’re getting better overall value (and more reliability) with Rodriguez than they would have with Soria.
Even with Rodriguez in the fold, the Detroit Tigers still have a number of holes to fill on the pitching staff. They’ll still need to address rotation issues and add another arm or two into the bullpen mix if they hope to be competitive again in 2016.
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