What K-Rod’s Decision Means For Brewers

Earlier tonight, Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers, making him one of three free agents to do so (David Ortiz and Kelly Johnson being the others). Rodriguez now stands to earn approximately $13MM via salary arbitration, a decision which isn't without impact on the dealings of his team.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that GM Doug Melvin says the club did not make a miscalculation in offering Rodriguez arbitration. According to Melvin, he and owner Mark Attanasio were prepared for the possibility that he would accept the offer and considered it a "no-lose situation."

Melvin confirmed that the Brewers had a potential deal with LaTroy Hawkins agreed upon, but that Hawkins signed with the Angels for one year and $3MM rather than waiting for Rodriguez's decision, a move which Melvin "didn't blame him" for. According to Melvin, his offer to Hawkins was worth less than the $3MM that Hawkins signed for.

Beyond that, Melvin added that the Brewers are likely withdrawing their pursuit of Takashi Saito "for now," and that it's "possible" that this will have an impact on the club's ability to pursue Aramis Ramirez, for whom they were a reported favorite.

Haudricourt also points out (via Twitter) the irony of the fact that the decision of Rodriguez, a Scott Boras client, essentially further guarantees that the club cannot afford a reunion with Prince Fielder.


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52 Comments on "What K-Rod’s Decision Means For Brewers"


All Day Réy
3 years 8 months ago

K-Rod’s pissing everyone off these days.

Tbell16
3 years 8 months ago

Could the Brewers try and trade for Hanley Ramirez

James Willard
3 years 8 months ago

What it means is the brewers actually thought they were going to get draft picks, then realized that the closer market was insane and K-Rod realized he could get 13 million for being a set up man

3 years 8 months ago

If you don’t want the guy, don’t offer him arbitration.

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

Huh? This has gone on for years. Teams offer arbitration to guys knowing they won’t come back. The draft picks have been a huge part of personnel strategy. That’s a ridiculous statement to make.

3 years 8 months ago

No.  The compensation system was set up so that teams who wanted to retain a player but couldn’t due to the market would receive a pick(s).  To ensure teams actually wanted the player they had to offer the player arbitration, which would entitle the player to a modest raise.

Because the market was crazy in the 2000s, players would decline arbitration because they could get more money as a free agent.  This lead to teams offering with the expectation the player wouldn’t return, and teams that would game the system.

Now that the market has retreated, players like K-Rod will be able to make more money through arbitration than they could receive on the market.  But the act of offering arbitration has always been a contract offer for next season.

Bob George
3 years 8 months ago

They can release him in Spring Training and only owe him 2.1 million (30 days pay). There’s no reason for Melvin to act, or baseball writers to think that this is going to handicap the club. They should pursue their offseason as if KRod will cost them 2.1 mil, not 13 mil.

chemteck29
3 years 8 months ago

They can only cut him if he LEGITIMATELY doesn’t make the club,….unless his arm completely falls off that isn’t happening! Well they can physically cut him, but they’d be slapped with a grievance in a nanosecond…..at which point they would still have to pay the man. They can however (with his blessing) find a trade partner and trade him for a bag of balls and salary relief.

3 years 8 months ago

Its non guaranteed they can release him and pay 1/6 of the salary.  They are not stuck with him. 

jayrig5
3 years 8 months ago

Is that seriously all they’d owe?  I thought it was a fully guaranteed contract, but I’m obviously not totally familiar with the ins and outs.

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

My understanding is that the player is owed 1/6th of the agreed upon salary if he is cut. Assuming $13M or so puts you at a little over $2M.

3 years 8 months ago

KRod just jacked up the whole Brewers offseason.

3 years 8 months ago

2.1 for a draft pick, I’d say that’s actually a pretty good deal.

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t think they get the draft pick, though. They lost it since KRod accepted arbitration. At least I think.

Steven D
3 years 8 months ago

Ouch, this news is like a kick to the groin. I can’t blame the Brewers for taking that risk. The Brew Crew thought they would draft picks and some team would be able to come to terms with him to be their closer. It was a calculated risk and they lost. I’m actually surprised no team wanted to sign K-Rod despite his baggage, he did pitch well. 

Maybe K-Rod was asking for too much or teams are worried about his off the field baggage, who knows. 

Liam_Ho
3 years 8 months ago

Most of the teams with a good shot of contending next year already have a closer. Its pointless for a team that probably won’t compete to give big money to a reliever when they could just find some cheaper option or look internally.

cubs223425
3 years 8 months ago

The Red Sox might need a closer if they don’t yet trust Bard or make him a starter.
The same could be said for the Angels and Walden (minus the starter talk).
The Cardinals don’t have the best closer in the world, though a Pujols signing will break them.
The Rangers could use a reliever perhaps, seeing as they chased Bailey.
The Padres MIGHT contend (though very unlikely, we saw them do it in 2010) and let Bell leave.
The Blue Jays could have used him but aren’t going to contend unless everything happens just right (inluding having meteors hit 2 of Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay).
The Reds just lost Cordero, though their competitiveness is questionable (as is Milwaukee’s).
The Mets need a closer but just grabbed more relievers than a bullpen needs in the hopes one can close.
The White Sox just traded their closer, though are unlikely to compete.
Minnesota just lost Nathan, though same as the White Sox, we’re not likely to see them compete.

My point is, Milwaukee’s not guaranteed to compete, even in that weak division, now that Fielder is gone. There are semi-competitive teams that could have used a closer, but the matter is he wasn’t getting $13 million or 4 years. He can take the $13 million+ this season, come back with a smaller RP market next offseason, and try again.

Milwaukee wasn’t going to keep Fielder anyway, so the only thing it might have harmed is grabbing an exptra complimentary piece or trading for Hanley (the first of which isn’t that serious and the second of which would be a crappy idea).

Yeah, the money sucks, but I wouldn’t be that concerned with it. Trade him at the deadline to a contender with a bullpen injury or two (or Texas–they LOVE the relievers) and get the prospect you wanted that way.

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah, that is the issue. The closer market is about $10-11M for top closers right now. KRod will likely make $13M or so if they follow thru with arbitration. KRod is no longer a top closer, so assume he’s worth maybe $8M or so. It would be tough for KRod to swallow a 2/$16M contract and forego the $13M he’d be due in arbitration. 

East Coast Bias
3 years 8 months ago

What’s with the KRod hate? You can’t really blame him for taking the best offer.

You CAN blame the Brewers for offering it though. 

I don’t get why they offered arbitration to begin with. Everybody knew there were going to be multiple closers available in FA this off season. It’s not really a surprise that KRod accepted. 

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

Because KRod complained to the press in the middle of a pennant run that he wasn’t happy as a setup man. It was risky to offer arby, but I don’t completely fault Melvin for this. 2 draft picks for a guy who seemed all but gone was not a bad risk to take. 

KRod has Boras as an agent. Melvin should have figured KRod would follow the money, I suppose.

East Coast Bias
3 years 8 months ago

All that is true. He did complain. But just look at the market for closers. Paps, Madson, Bell, Cordero, etc. etc. 

I guess what I’m saying is this shouldn’t be that big of a surprise if you looked at the market and money involved, rather than what he said to the press. 

It’s not entirely the same, but has the same feel from the Soriano deal last year. And the same reason why Soriano did not opt out this year. Guaranteed 12m for setting up. Money talks. 

cyberboo
3 years 8 months ago

Any amount of money K-rod receives from the arbitrator means nothing, because it isn’t guaranteed.  The Brewers can trade him or cut him loose in spring training with a meagre payout.  They could have still signed Hawkins, Saito, or anyone else they wanted, because if they can’t trade him, they could cut him loose regardless.  Melvin was overreacting to the situation, when he didn’t have to worry about anything.  It must have been the stress of the winter meetings clouding his judgment. 

chemteck29
3 years 8 months ago

They can only cut him if he legitimately doesn’t make the team. There would be a grievance filed before the ink was dry on the release papers!

cyberboo
3 years 8 months ago

Let them file the grievance.  K-rod isn’t a superstar.  They can present a case that another pitcher had better stats, which is probably the case, and they are putting him on the roster for 2012.  If they then return the kid to the minors, it can then be said that they are guilty.  Milwaukee could also trade for another reliever that they say is going to challenge K-rod for the last spot on the roster.  They have to hope then that the other pitcher has a better spring or they are snookered.  lol. 

In either scenario, K-rod isn’t going to have many friends in the clubhouse, because he has just cost the team an opportunity to upgrade their team to contend in 2012. I hope the coach puts him in the second inning of the games and leaves him there until the ninth until his arm falls off for being stubborn and greedy. He can have his 13M, but his career ends in 2012, costing him in the long run. Whoops, just a little vindictiveness showing. lol.

chemteck29
3 years 8 months ago

The other pitcher with better stats theory only helps so much. Even if the arbitor buys the teams argument, Krod cannot earn less than 80 percent of his previous years salary. Krod made 11.5 million in 2011 so 11.5 x 80 is 9.2 million that is the bare minimum Krod could be awarded via arbitration. I’m sure they’ll work it out, cause Krod doesn’t want to be there any more than they want to spend 9.2 million (minimum) on a set-up guy!

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

I think they have to pay KRod 1/6th of this 2012 salary if they cut him, don’t they? That means about $2M+. 

If I’m Melvin, I would look elsewhere to reduce salary. Don’t re-sign Parra, go low-budget at SS and sign Gonzalez, let Gindl backup the OF this season at 400K. But to let Saito walk (and even Hawkins, who seems likely to regress this season and comes in at $3M)…just seems like Melvin has other ways to address the KRod mess.

stewie75
3 years 8 months ago

answer this, did he:

A) have a handshake agreement and change his mind
B) not have an agreement and the club “juuust figured…”

kidsmoke96
3 years 8 months ago

Melvin claims he and Boras never talked about it. I thought it was risky to offer him arby, simply because he would be guaranteed $13M or so this year in Milwaukee while the closer market was topping out at around $11M.  I assume Boras realized he could accept arbitration and at least pocket $2M+ (if the Brewers cut him) and more if the Brewers somehow trade him this off-season.

Fred McCarthy
3 years 8 months ago

Krod is the greediest player in baseball haha glad to see him failing at life since he left anaheim :-)

3 years 8 months ago

If failing in life means making 13 million a year, then where do I sign up for this type of failure? Count. Me. In.

Fred McCarthy
2 years 4 months ago

Life isn’t measured by money.

BeansNRice
3 years 8 months ago

The Brewers will trade K Rod.  I think they will have to eat $3 million or so.  If they can get a decent MLB ready player to roster, then the deal would be okay. 

John Jansons
3 years 8 months ago

they can cut him for any reason they see fit in spring training. They would only be responsible for the $2.1MM. The union isn’t going to do anything about it, especially when K-Rod is free to get another job from somebody else at that point and has already made $2.1MM. They can say he’s ‘lost velocity on his fastball’ and cut him. End of story

3 years 8 months ago

It seems impossible that this could get in the way of signing Saito, as he will come cheap, and is rather good when healthy

Whole_New_World
3 years 8 months ago

Arbitration is such a strange thing in baseball. It’s supposed to be a tool to reach a mutually beneficial compromise. But its use in MLB has become a tool to gain some other secondary advantage.

Owners offer almost solely in the hopes the player declines to get draft choices. Players hate it (to the point of having clauses in their contracts forbidding owners from offering it) if they have in-demand skills. Players only accept it in cases like K-Rods, where the system artificially inflates his current value.

Anyway, wow, K-Rod is like the curse that keeps on giving.

Jakmagic
3 years 8 months ago

To be honest if the Brewers can afford it somehow I would be happy if we could keep KROD. He was an important player that helped us reach the postseason last year. He was dominate in the 8th inning, which I believe is tougher than the ninth. The combo of Axford and him turned our ballgames into 7 inning games. Krod had only given up the lead one time, that lead to a Brewers loss. He has better stuff than most other 8th inning pitchers. It just sucks that he will earn that much cash. I would be happy if he was earning 7-8 mil instead. Still hope Melvin goes after Ramirez though. He would make up for some of the offense lost to Fielder’s departure. Either that, or move Hart to firstbase and pursue Beltran for LF. Not to many teams sound interested in Beltran.

JackPackage
3 years 8 months ago

This is why there are problems in modern sports, everyone wants to blame the players for accepting the ridiculous offers the teams throw at them. Why would K-Rod turn down $13 million if someone offers it to him? You, nor I wouldn’t… why should he?

I really can’t understand why teams with limited payrolls offer risky arbitrations. Silver lining Brewers fans is that it might prevent the team from going out and getting A-Ram… you can only hope. K-Rod at 1/13 is better than A-Ram at 3/50.

Ray Darr
3 years 8 months ago

They could possibly work out a 2 or 3 year deal with K-Rod which might make him more tradeable.
I don’t see them just releasing him.
He may be tradeable at the deadline even with the high salary depending upon team’s needs at that time.
Brewers should be able to bite the bullet financially in the short term.
They did draw 3million plus last year plus 6 home playoff games, plus will be on pace for record attendance once again.
You figure they were offering Fielder 22 mil.  By letting him go, they should be able to absorb the difference between what K-Rod will make, and the 3 mil they were going to pay Hawkins, plus still sign Aramis Ramirez.
Definitely poor financial planning on Mel’s part.  You figure he already gave K-Rod a 4 mil buyout, plus now may be on the hook for a 13 mil salary.  At that rate, they could have just paid K-Rod his original 17 mil salary.
Looks like he is going down the same road with Betancourt.  Paid him a 2 mil buyout, now is considering resigning him as well, with Reyes, Rollins, and Furcal all seemingly headed elsewhere.

0bsessions
3 years 8 months ago

If they’re willing to eat a few million, I imagine there’s probably a few teams willing to take him off of their hands.