Saturday, February 8, 2014

Building The 25 - K-Rod Returns, Again

In Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin's annual reconstruction of the bullpen he decided to add Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) to The 25 for the third time in the last four years.  K-Rod signed a one-year deal with a $3.25 million base salary and $500,000 in incentives.  Although $3.25 million feels a too rich for a player K-Rod's ability, thankfully the Brewers only inked him to a one-year deal.

For kicks let's trace the relationship between K-Rod and the Brewers.  Melvin originally traded for K-Rod following the 2011 All-Star break to bolster the bullpen for a playoff run.  K-Rod pitched well in 2011 but struggled in 2012, which kept him out of baseball to start the 2013 season.  The Brewers brought K-Rod back last season when their closer spot was in disarray due to John Axford's struggles.  K-Rod performed well, which allowed the Brewers to trade him to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league third-baseman Nick Delmonico.  K-Rod struggled for the Orioles, which is part of the reason he was still available so close to the start of spring training this season.

With K-Rod in the fold, apparently the Brewers are planning to start the season with Jim Henderson as their closer but K-Rod would most likely be the next option if Henderson struggles.  After that the Brewers do not have another viable option at closer, which shows you the lack of depth the Brewers currently have in their bullpen.  Given all the young arms the Brewers have in their farm system that project as middle to end of the rotation starters, Melvin should start looking at whether any of those guys could help in the bullpen over the next few years in preparation for starting down the road.

While I don't love the K-Rod signing, I like it much more than the Garza signing or the Aoki trade.  I presume this is Melvin's last big addition to The 25 before spring training.  If not, check back for full coverage in this space.  If things remain quiet for the next week, make sure to check back on the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting for my traditional spring training preview for the Brewers.

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