Right-hander Francisco Rodriguez has signed with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League, according to The Athletic’s Robert Murray and Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). The man they call K-Rod hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2017, though he tossed 42 1/3 innings for the independent Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks in 2018.
The veteran reliever is still hopeful of returning to the big leagues, and it was only back in 2016 that Rodriguez recorded 44 saves for the Tigers while posting an impressive 3.24 ERA, 8.0 K/9, and 2.48 K/BB over 58 1/3 innings. That strong year gave way to a rough 2017, however, that saw him post a 7.82 ERA for the Tigers before being released, and then failing to earn another ticket to the Show after signing minor league contracts with the Nationals and Phillies that same year.
Rodriguez is now 37, and looking for one final encore in what has been an outstanding career. After making an immediate impact as a rookie to help the Angels win the 2002 World Series, K-Rod has been an effective late-game weapon for five different teams over 16 MLB seasons. His 62 saves in 2008 is still the league’s all-time single-season record, and Rodriguez’s 437 saves places him fourth on the all-time list, behind only Hall-of-Famers Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Lee Smith.