Tha Sports Junkies 101

Phillies Sign Francisco Rodriguez to Minor League Contract

Francisco Rodriguez Aaron Donovan

MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies inked a deal with closer Francisco Rodriguez Sunday afternoon.  The deal was for a minor league contract which includes an invite to major league spring training.  The Phillies are hoping he can return to form, after a rough 2017 season that led to his release from the Detroit Tigers.

Francisco Rodriguez

The notorious ‘K-Rod’ was once one of the top closers in the game.  This next season will be his seventeenth, since debuting with the Anaheim Angels in 2002.  Over that span, K-Rod has put together a Hall-of-Fame type career.  He won it all with the Angels in his first season, though he wasn’t yet the closer.  He didn’t take over that role full-time until 2005, after he struck out 123 batters in 82 innings in 2004.  During that 2005 season he saved 45 games, starting a streak of four straight seasons with 40 or more saves, and five straight with 35 or more.  In 2008, he set the all-time single season saves record at 62, and placed sixth in MVP voting.

Since leaving the Angels in 2009, Rodriguez has recorded two more seasons with 40+ saves, two more with 35+, and three more with 20+.  One of those 40 save seasons was just two years ago, in 2016, with the Detroit Tigers.

Throughout his 16 seasons, K-Rod has accumulated six All-Star appearances, finished in the top five for the Cy Young award three times, and saved 437 games, placing him fourth on the all-time list.  He trails third place Lee Smith by just 41 saves, a milestone the Phillies would love to see accomplished on their time.

What it Means for the Phillies

K-Rod will potentially give Philadelphia another option in the late innings.  Currently Pat Neshek and Hector Neris hold down the back end of the pen, so success from Rodriguez would be very welcome in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.  If things don’t work out, and he never returns to his old self, the Phillies don’t have to worry about losing a major investment.  Overall, this seems to be a solid, low-risk signing for Matt Klentak and the Phillies.