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2015 Free Agent Profile: Francisco Rodriguez

francisco-rodriguez
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the bullpen was expected to be a point of emphasis this winter due to their struggles all season and in the postseason.

While they failed to sign any of the top arms on the market, the Dodgers have acquired Chris Hatcher and Joel Peralta, as well as taking fliers on Sergio Santos and Erik Bedard. It was said that the team is still looking for a late-inning reliever, so today we take a look at one of the options left.

Francisco Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a right-handed reliever that spent 2014 with the Milwaukee Brewers as their closer. He saved 44 games and had a 3.04 ERA. He has saved 348 games in his 13-year career.

Why The Dodgers Should Sign Him

Rodriguez proved last season that he is still a capable reliever. While he couldn’t keep up with his early season pace, he finished the year with good numbers. In 68 innings, he struck out 73 batters and walked just 18. With the Dodgers, he would be forced to be a middle reliever, possibly a setup man, but could give Don Mattingly a capable arm for the later innings.

Not only would Rodriguez provide quality innings, but he will provide innings. He’s appeared in less than 55 games just twice in his career, in his rookie season and in 2013. Despite his age, he has proven durable throughout his time in the big leagues. Another reason he would fit in with the Dodgers is his ground ball percentage, which is 42.5 percent for his career. With the team’s new infield focused on defense, Rodriguez would be perfect.

Why The Dodgers Shouldn’t Sign Him

There’s a reason the 33-year-old is still on the market, and one reason could be his likely insistence on closing. The Dodgers don’t need a closer, making it tough for a guy who saved 44 games last year to come aboard. There hasn’t been any link between the Dodgers and Rodriguez, and that could be a sign that the advanced stats don’t support him.

Rodriguez’s FIP, WAR and HR/FB ratio have all declined in the past few years. While his walks have also decreased, it appears Rodriguez’s ERA has been a product of a bit of luck and a low BABIP. Another alarming sign is that the right-hander has allowed more home runs more frequently in recent years, although pitching at Dodger Stadium and in the NL West could help those numbers.

Expected Contract/Chances Dodgers Sign

At this point, Rodriguez could find himself a one-year deal somewhere worth a few million. It’s also likely that he could be reduced to a minor-league deal with an invite to big-league camp. Since there haven’t been any rumors linking him to the Dodgers, it appears the chances of him pitching in Los Angeles next season are slim-to-none.

Written by Vincent Samperio

Vince is currently the Associate Editor and Social Media Manager for Dodgers Nation. Hailing from San Pedro, CA and a student at Cal State Long Beach, Vince has previously written for the Daily 49er and LASF Magazine.

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