Though multiple teams have shown interest in Francisco Rodriguez this offseason, he remains unsigned, with previous reports indicating that he and agent Scott Boras are holding out for a two-year deal. It appears, however, that K-Rod is willing to take a one-year pact, but at a premium price, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that he’s seeking a $10MM contract heading into the 2015 season.
News that Kenley Jansen underwent surgery that would sideline him for eight to 12 weeks spawned immediate speculation that K-Rod (or fellow Boras client Rafael Soriano) could land in Los Angeles. Indications since the announcement of Jansen’s foot surgery, though, are that the Dodgers won’t make a reactionary splash. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that K-Rod would only be a consideration for the Dodgers on their own terms, and a $10MM commitment hardly seems likely to match that description.
While the notion of Rodriguez seeking a one-year, $10MM contract back in October or November wouldn’t have seemed completely far-fetched — we at MLBTR predicted he’d find a two-year, $14MM deal — it seems difficult to imagine at this juncture. Most teams have spent their offseason budget and have little financial wiggle room. The best chance of Rodriguez finding such a deal would be in the event that another closer lost its closer for a more significant amount of time than the Dodgers currently stand to be without Jansen.
Rodriguez’s reported asking price figures to elicit a collective eye roll from many fans, but it should at least be noted that he did enjoy a very strong bottom-line results in Milwaukee last year. The 33-year-old recorded 44 saves with a 3.04 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 43.9 percent ground-ball rate in 68 innings. Many have been quick to criticize his season because he rated below replacement level per Fangraphs’ version of WAR, but that valuation is based on his 4.50 FIP. Baseball-Reference valued Rodriguez at 1.5 wins, and RA9-WAR agreed, valuing him at 1.3 wins. Other ERA estimators such as xFIP (2.91) and SIERA (2.58) feel that Rodriguez was as effective, if not more so than his ERA indicated in 2014. Rodriguez did post the best BB/9 rate of his career last season, and his swinging-strike rate was his best since 2011.
Those positive factors notwithstanding, $10MM is an aggressive goal for a 33-year-old reliever in mid-February, although Boras has pulled off larger feats in previous offseasons. To this point, the Brewers, Blue Jays and now Dodgers have been the teams most often linked to Rodriguez, but barring a drop in asking price, his eventual landing spot may be with a team that doesn’t even have a clear need for a closer at the moment.