As the official winter season nears, the baseball winter will likely be pick up with the Winter Meetings just a week away. We continue to find free agents that could be a possible fit with the Dodgers.
Today, we take a look at a right-handed relief pitcher that is known as “K-Rod”:
Rodriguez is a 31-year-old relief pitcher that spent last season split between the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore Orioles. In his career, he has 304 saves with a 2.70 ERA over 12 seasons.
The right-hander began the year with the Brewers and had 10 saves in 25 appearances with a 1.09 ERA before being traded to the Orioles in July. With Baltimore, Rodriguez had a 4.50 ERA in 23 appearances in a bullpen role.
The Venezuelan pitcher has been a consistent arm out of the bullpen since he came up with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2002. Rodriguez has had an ERA over 4.00 just one time in his career and has worked in numerous roles. The 31-year-old struggled with the Orioles but was dominant before the trade and still struck out over 10 per nine innings. He’s a strikeout pitcher and that usually bodes well for relief pitchers in their later years. Rodriguez averages almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings in his career and should continue to be effective.
Rodriguez began his career out of the bullpen before becoming one of the top closers in baseball and now settles in as a reliever/set-up man. The Dodgers have Kenley Jansen for the ninth inning, meaning they would need Rodriguez for a possible set-up role. Having accepted the new role, the right-hander would fit in well in Los Angeles as the bridge to Jansen. He’s also used to pitching a lot, having thrown in at least 60 games nine of the last 11 years.
The 31-year-old has been to the postseason six times in his 12 years and has an overall ERA of 2.95. He thrived in the spotlight in the 2002 postseason, helping lead the Angels to a championship. Rodriguez wouldn’t be fazed by the pressure and would be a welcome addition to the bullpen. The Dodgers have plans of being in the playoffs every year and will need a strong bullpen to lead them to the World Series. Rodriguez would give the team that proven arm in the bullpen that won’t succumb to the playoff pressure.
Rodriguez is coming off a poor second half of 2013 that followed his worst season in 2012. He had a 4.38 ERA in 2012 and a 4.50 ERA in his time with the Orioles. The fact may be that Rodriguez is already in the decline of his career. Although he’s only 31-years-old, his arm has thrown in 730 games in his 12 seasons. He’s no longer the dominant pitcher that he once was and may not provide much more than any young arm in the Dodgers’ farm system. His strikeouts have continued, but he’s become more susceptible to the home run.
The Dodgers would like to bring back Brian Wilson for the set-up role and if they can’t do that, then they still have a stable of arms ready to take on the role. Rodriguez would be more of a luxury rather than a necessity. The right-hander may command a high salary and/or a multi-year deal that could take the Dodgers out of the running. Rodriguez may even be able to find a deal as a closer with a team, something the Dodgers aren’t providing as an option.
The 31-year-old has a very strong personality and has been known for having off-the-field incidents. He even missed two games in 2010 after being charged with assault by his girlfriend’s father and was suspended by the New York Mets. Rodriguez is a very passionate player that has sometimes spilled over to arguments with coaches, something that would not be welcomed in the Dodger clubhouse. His personality can be a bit over-the-top sometimes and may cause the Dodgers to look a different way.
Rodriguez will definitely be seeking a multi-year deal, seeing that he’s only 31-years-old. He could be asking for a two or three-year deal worth $5-8 million a year; however, the right-hander will likely receive the two or three years he seeks but for less money. Rodriguez should receive at least $3 million a year with incentives that could push it up to the $8 million he made in 2012.
Chances Dodgers Sign Him: 40%
It was reported that the Dodgers had heavily scouted Rodriguez last season in hopes of making a trade for him, but that was before they signed Wilson. The team may still be interested, especially if Wilson leaves, and could be looking to bring the right-handed back to Southern California.
The Dodgers will wait for Wilson before making any move on Rodriguez, but the chances are possible to see “K-Rod” at Chavez Ravine next season.