Paco Rodriguez Rumors

Paco Rodriguez To Have Elbow Surgery

Dodgers lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez needs surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow and will miss eight to ten weeks, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes. The Dodgers do not appear likely to pursue bullpen help at the trade deadline, however.

The Dodgers placed Rodriguez on the disabled list with an elbow strain in late May, and he had made a series of successful rehab appearances, leading the Dodgers to believe his return to the big leagues was imminent. “It seemed like it was going pretty good,” says manager Don Mattingly. “There was even talk of activating him here in Miami. So it was really the last second.”

Even with Rodriguez likely out for much of the rest of the season, however, the Dodgers do not appear to be seeking outside relief help. J.P. Howell and Adam Liberatore have had success as lefties out of the Dodgers’ bullpen, and the team also has Daniel Coulombe as a backup option. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman also recently said that adding extra relievers would not be a top priority.

Bullpens, by nature, are a little inconsistent but we feel like we’ve not only got a talented ‘pen but a very deep ‘pen,” said Friedman. “Once we get guys back, I think it’s going to end up being a strength for us.” The team activated Pedro Baez this weekend after he spent six weeks on the disabled list with a pectoral strain.

Rodriguez was a key part of the Dodgers’ bullpen as a 22-year-old in 2013, but he spent most of last season pitching for Triple-A Albuquerque due to a roster crunch. He’s had modest success in brief stints in the big leagues in each of the last two seasons.


NL Notes: Paco, Pirates, Frandsen, Mets

The Dodgers have been aggressively pursuing bullpen depth and their search could well continue now that southpaw Paco Rodriguez has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left elbow.  Rodriguez will return to Los Angeles to visit with the team doctor and undergo an MRI this week to determine the extent of the injury.  Rodriguez has a 2.61 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 2.67 K/BB rate over 10 1/3 relief innings this season, and he’ll join other Dodger pitching notables as Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon League and Joel Peralta on the injured list.  Here’s some more from around the National League…

  • The Pirates are getting on track after a slow start, in large part because of several fairly inexpensive but productive offseason additions have helped, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan writes in a piece for FOX Sports.  A.J. Burnett is throwing like a Cy Young candidate, Jung Ho Kang has been a power bat at short, Arquimedes Caminero and Rob Scahill are pitching well out of the bullpen and Francisco Cervelli has essentially replaced Russell Martin‘s elite pitch-calling at a fraction of Martin’s price tag.
  • Kevin Frandsen is excited to be joining the Giants, telling Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) that he was eager to join a team that valued utility players.  The veteran will join the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league contract earlier today.
  • As many as eight of the 15 NL teams could be trade deadline sellers, according to what the New York Post’s Joel Sherman has been hearing from league executives, though the Reds, Padres and Marlins may hold out from trades as long as possible out of a refusal to give up on the season.  The Mets seems to be one of the buyers, and Sherman lists four big-name players (Aroldis Chapman, Martin Prado, Justin Upton and Ben Zobrist) who could help New York’s playoff chances.  The versatile Prado and Zobrist could help all over the diamond given some of the Mets’ unsettled injury situations, Upton would add another big bat and Chapman’s addition would solidify the Mets’ bullpen and thus take pressure off the rotation.  While any of this quartet would certainly be upgrades for the Mets, it remains to be seen, however, how much (if any) money the club is willing to spend for in-season additions.

Mets Monitoring Dodgers, Rockies In Search For Lefty Relief

4:46pm: The Mets are also intrigued by Rockies left-hander Rex Brothers, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. A team official told Rubin at the Winter Meetings that Brothers was of interest to the Amazins, and that interest is apparently still alive. The 27-year-old Brothers will earn $1.4MM this year after a down season in 2014. Last year, he struggled to a 5.59 ERA as his control spiked and he posted a career-worst 6.2 BB/9 rate.

Brothers was excellent, however, from 2011-13, especially when considering his home park. In that time, he notched a 2.82 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 out of the Colorado ‘pen. He’s had a good Spring Training thus far and is under team control through 2017. Brothers has a career 2.40 ERA on the road compared to a 4.51 mark at Coors Field.

As Rubin notes, the Rox also have southpaw Boone Logan, though his contract seems especially prohibitive for the Mets; Logan is owed $5.5MM this year and $6.25MM in 2016.

4:01pm: The Mets are “keeping an eye on” three Dodgers left-handed relief options — J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Adam Liberatore — in case any of the three become available, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles (via Twitter).

The Mets have a known need for a bullpen lefty following Josh Edgin‘s Tommy John surgery and have been connected to Baltimore’s Brian Matusz on multiple occasions this spring. Of course, Matusz sounds to be more available than any of the three Dodger southpaws, based on Saxon’s wording.

Howell would seem to have a spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen locked down, as the former Ray has posted a 2.19 ERA over the past two seasons with Los Angeles and is entering the second season of a two-year, $11.25MM contract signed following a strong first year with the Dodgers. Besides that fact, Howell is slated to earn $4MM this season, and the Mets reportedly aren’t even comfortable with Matusz’s $3.2MM salary, so it’s hard to envision a great fit with Howell.

Rodriguez and Liberatore, however, could conceivably be more available, and neither would cost much more than the Major League minimum in terms of salary. Rodriguez, 23, was the Dodgers’ second-round pick in 2012 and reached the Majors that same season. However, despite a strong 2013 followup to his brief 2012 cameo, (2.32 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9), Rodriguez saw just 14 regular-season innings with the Dodgers last year. Rodriguez struggled to a 4.40 ERA in Triple-A’s hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2014 and was slowed by a strained shoulder muscle as well. With just one year, 120 days of MLB service time, Rodriguez likely wouldn’t be arbitration eligible for another two years, making him an understandably appealing target.

It’s unclear how the new front office views Rodriguez, but the old regime clearly had some concerns over his readiness. The former front office invested significantly in free agent relievers last winter (including Brian Wilson and Chris Perez — neither of whom panned out) and quickly optioned Rodriguez to Triple-A after a rough patch in late April. New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, GM Farhan Zaidi and VP Josh Byrnes may have more faith in Rodriguez and be reluctant to part with him.

As for Liberatore, the Dodgers only acquired him this offseason. The 27-year-old had previously been with the Rays, so it was hardly surprising to see Friedman pull both Liberatore and Joel Peralta from the Rays organization in a trade with his former colleagues. Liberatore is older for a prospect, but he has exceptional numbers at the Triple-A level, where he’s worked to a 2.40 ERA in 146 1/3 innings. His most impressive work came in 2014, when he worked to a 1.66 ERA with 11.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 65 innings.

For what it’s worth, both Liberatore and Rodriguez have had excellent Spring Training campaigns, combining for 13 innings of scoreless relief. That likely doesn’t mean much, and considering the fact that both have Minor League options remaining, there’s no pressure for the Dodgers to move either, even if they don’t break camp in the bullpen. Also to be considered is the fact that relief help is a need for the Dodgers themselves, particularly in the wake of an injury to closer Kenley Jansen that may only sideline him through mid-April but could leave him on the shelf into mid-May. The Dodgers have a number of contracts they’d like to shed (e.g. Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena) but the Mets would hardly seem to be in a financial position to sweeten the pot by taking on some salary in a trade.



Paco Rodriguez, Antonio Bastardo Change Agencies

Left-handed relievers Paco Rodriguez and Antonio Bastardo have changed agencies, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal. Rodriguez, formerly represented by BKK Sports, will be joining the MVP Sports Group and is now represented by agency president Dan Lozano. Bastardo, who had been represented by ACES, is now a client of Greg Genske of the Legacy Agency.

The 23-year-old Rodriguez blitzed through the minor leagues and was the first 2012 draftee to appear in the Major Leagues, as he made his debut on Sept. 9, 2012, just months after being selected in the second round. He was a lights-out setup man for the Dodgers in 2013, but he has somewhat curiously spent much of the 2014 campaign at Triple-A (perhaps due to some September/postseason struggles last year).

Rodriguez turned in a 2.35 ERA with a 63-to-19 K/BB ratio in 53 2/3 innings for the Dodgers in 2013 and has posted a 4.35 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this season. Overall, he’s notched a 2.52 ERA with 80 strikeouts against 26 walks in 71 1/3 innings out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. He has struggled against right-handers in 2014, yielding a .250/.395/.469 batting line between the Majors and Minors. He’s currently on the DL with a strained teres major muscle in his left shoulder but is expected to return in September.

Bastardo, who will turn 29 next month, is heading into his final offseason of arbitration eligibility before hitting the free agent market. He’s earning $2MM this season and has produced a 4.47 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in 54 1/3 innings. Since cementing himself as a member of the Phillies’ bullpen back in 2011, Bastardo has pitched to a 3.48 ERA with 11.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 207 big league innings. He’s held opposing lefties to a .188/.286/.345 batting line in his career, though right-handed hitters have a similarly feeble .655 OPS against Bastardo.

The representation changes for Rodriguez and Bastardo are both reflected in the MLBTR Agency Database, which contains agent information on more than 2,000 Major League and Minor League players. If you see any errors or omissions within the database, please let us know via email: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.