Francisco Rodriguez
Francisco Rodriguez
36-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  Foreign
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
A year ago on Opening Day, K-Rod was still entrenched as the Tigers' closer. How quickly things change in Major League Baseball. Rodriguez squandered four of 11 save chances to begin the 2017 season and was formally removed from the ninth-inning role in early May. Things didn't get any better for the right-hander in middle relief and Detroit ultimately cut ties in late-June. Rodriguez then signed with Washington, but was released weeks later without a major-league appearance. His strikeout rate fell for a second straight year, dropping to a career-low 19.5 percent, while his walk rate ticked up to 9.3 percent. Home runs were the major problem, with Rodriguez giving up nine long balls in just 25.1 innings. The 36-year-old will get a chance to compete for a spot in the Phillies' bullpen in spring training, but his days of closing games are likely gone, and so too is his mixed-league relevance. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year contract with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in April of 2018.
To play in Atlantic League
PFree Agent  F
April 29, 2018
Rodriguez inked a deal with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League on Sunday, Jon Heyman of reports.
Rodriguez was granted his release from the Phillies on March 24, and he's now set to play in an independent league. It seems unlikely that the 36-year-old will make a return to Major League Baseball after he was unable to make Philadelphia's big-league roster ahead of the 2018 season.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .248 173 32 11 40 9 1 11
Since 2016vs Right .232 180 43 21 36 11 0 4
2018vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Left .340 57 13 4 18 6 0 6
2017vs Right .245 61 10 7 13 4 0 3
2016vs Left .204 116 19 7 22 3 1 5
2016vs Right .225 119 33 14 23 7 0 1
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
No Stats
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 3.56 1.23 42.0 3 5 24 7.3 2.9 1.5
Since 2016Away 5.75 1.35 40.2 2 4 27 8.9 4.0 1.8
2018Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Home 3.77 1.33 14.1 1 2 3 6.9 1.9 1.9
2017Away 13.09 2.09 11.0 1 3 4 9.8 6.5 4.9
2016Home 3.45 1.19 28.2 2 3 21 7.5 3.5 1.3
2016Away 3.03 1.08 29.2 1 1 23 8.5 3.0 0.6
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Rodriguez's 2017 option was picked up by Detroit, so he appears poised to once again serve as a reasonably priced source of saves. The 35-year-old righty has notched 126 saves across stops with the Brewers and Tigers over the past two seasons, and while his velocity readings and fielding independent numbers always seem to suggest he is pitching over his head, he may be the best example of someone who has the "closer mentality" -- if such a thing exists. Along with the saves, he can still get a decent amount of strikeouts while batters chase the changeup and breaking ball out of the zone, and he still posts solid ratios. While his ERA often fluctuates from year to year, he has kept it at 3.24 or lower in each of the past four seasons, although most projection systems will have him eclipsing that mark this season. He is the type of closer that is easier to roster than watch, as things often get interesting, even as he posted a career-best 54.7 percent groundball rate last season.
Rodriguez's surface numbers were as good as they've been this decade, as Rodriguez finished with 38 saves and a 2.21 ERA in his second season as the Brewers' closer. He continues to succeed in the closer role despite an unorthodox repertoire. His average fastball velocity dropped below 90 mph and he now throws a majority of off-speed pitches. His primary weapon is a brilliant changeup, which drew whiffs more than once out of every four times he threw it. He heads to the American League this year via a trade to Detroit. Hitters will punish him for his lack of velocity, as Rodriguez has served up 20 home runs in the past two seasons. Closers who toss up 90 mph fastballs are always living on the razor's edge, and for Rodriguez's owners, it will often be thirty pitches of terror, even if it has worked in Milwaukee for the last two years.
After trading him to the Orioles during the 2013 season, the Brewers re-signed Rodriguez last offseason. While it appeared that he was brought in simply to fill a spot in the bullpen, he ended up playing a far bigger role than expected, being named the closer just before the start of the season and hanging onto the job the entire way. He struggled with the long ball last year, but he also did an excellent job keeping runners off base, and ended up finishing with the fifth-most saves in the league. After signing a two-year deal in late February, he'll presumably return as Milwaukee's closer.
The Brewers gave K-Rod a minor league deal last offseason, used him at times as a closer in the first half and moved him to the Orioles for a decent prospect mid-season. Unfortunately for the Orioles, Rodriguez was not nearly as good in Baltimore as he was in Milwaukee, and he did not turn into the late-inning stopper like the Orioles hoped. Rodriguez decided to return to the place of his most recent success, and re-signed with the Brewers this offsesaon. He still has life on his fastball at an average 91.4 mph, but he threw the pitch just 54 percent of the time and relied more on his changeup and curveball. Rodriguez, who is now 32 years old, figures to open 2014 as the setup man in front of Brewers closer Jim Henderson.
Rodriguez was expected to be one of the better setup men in the league last season, but he was ineffective for long stretches at a time and finished the season with a 4.38 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, both the highest of his career. Rodriguez appeared in a career-high 78 games last season, so it is possible he was a bit overworked. He will only be 31 years old in 2013, so it is possible he could rebound if he is used in a lesser role out of the bullpen.
Rodriguez pitched well in a setup role in Milwaukee after a midseason trade, striking out 10.24 K/9IP and allowing just one home run. Given that it was believed he was interested in a multi-year deal with another opportunity to close, the Brewers may have been surprised that Rodriguez accepted arbitration in December. Provided that he isn't traded, Rodriguez will continue in his role as the eighth-inning man and fallback option for closer John Axford.
Rodriguez's biggest news last season came off the field, as he got into an altercation with his girlfriend's father in the family lounge at Citi Field on Aug. 11. To add injury to stupidity, K-Rod suffered a torn ligament in his thumb in the fight, sidelining him for the balance of the year. After the season, Rodriguez agreed not to challenge the team's decision to withhold his salary for the remainder of the 2010 season. In return, the Mets agreed not to seek to convert Rodriguez's contract to a non-guaranteed contract and removed him from the Disqualified List. In December, Rodriguez plead guilty to charges of assault, avoiding jail time. Prior to the altercation, K-Rod was having an excellent season, going 25-for-30 in save opportunities with a solid ERA and WHIP. He is expected to be healthy for spring training and should open 2011 as the Mets' closer.
Rodriguez was signed by the Mets following his record-breaking 2008 campaign and billed as the panacea for their struggling bullpen. K-Rod was brilliant the first three months of the season, but started to slow down in July and had several spectacular blown saves. At times there was a stark drop-off in Rodriguez's fastball, which had the cascading effect of making his changeup ineffective. He also struggled with his command, which might have been due to the lack of consistent work. K-Rod saw his ERA rise sharply despite a drop in BABIP, which doesn't bode well for the last two years of his three-year, $37 million deal.
Rodriguez had one of the best seasons ever for a relief pitcher and set a record for saves in a season after closing the door 62 times for the Angels in 2007. There's some concern over his diminished velocity, drop in strikeouts and increase in baserunners. Despite the apprehension, the Mets signed him to a three-year deal with an easily achieved team option for a fourth season. The other concern is that the Mets also acquired J.J. Putz from the Mariners, giving them a proven commodity as an alternative if Rodriguez gets off to a slow start.
Compared to his previous four seasons, Rodriguez had a down year, but when you put up his results against every other relief pitcher, Rodriguez was still one of the best. Rodriguez went 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched last season and was tied for second in the American League with 40 saves. Though his numbers were indeed lower by his standards, he is still putting hitters away with a high-90s fastball and one of the best sliders in the game. It's easy to forget that Rodriguez is just 26 years old and will be among the league's best closers in 2008 and for years to come.
Concerns about his violent motion and his slidercentric ways aren't going away. Ignore that and focus on how he has supplanted Mariano Rivera as the best fantasy closer in the AL. He allowed just two runs after June 26, and could be in line for a ridiculous 1.00 ERA season.
Look for more of the same from K-Rod in 2006 -- domination of opposing hitters, lots of strikeouts and lots of saves. When you get to the end of a game there are few better.
Make no mistake, K-Rod will dominate in 2005. While pitching brilliantly in a set-up capacity in 2004, Rodriguez took over closing briefly when Troy Percival was injured and proved he has the mental toughness to close games. He should be a top closer in 2005. Think Joe Nathan in 2004, only younger and harder throwing.
Rodriguez had a very good season for the Angels in 2003, posting a 3.03 ERA in 86 IP. Moreover, Rodriguez allowed a very stingy 50 hits. His K/BB ratio of 95/35 was one of the best on the team and he also chipped in with two saves and a WHIP of 0.988. If Troy Percival falters as the closer, Rodriguez could be next in line.
The words "young phenom" can't be uttered enough when you talk about Rodriguez. In a three-month span, he went from the minors to the national stage. The closer job belongs to Troy Percival, but Mike Scioscia can feel comfortable about putting the ball in the hands of this 21-year-old. Assuming Percival stays healthy, Rodriguez should get about 5-7 saves and have a great strikeout ratio, ERA and WHIP. He is great insurance in case Percival goes down.
More Fantasy News
Granted release
PPhiladelphia Phillies  F
March 24, 2018
Rodriguez was released by the Phillies on Saturday, Todd Zolecki of reports.
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Latches on with Phillies
PPhiladelphia Phillies  F
January 27, 2018
Rodriguez signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies on Saturday which includes an invitation to spring training, Jon Heyman of reports.
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Released by Nationals
PFree Agent  F
July 14, 2017
Rodriguez was released by the Nationals on Friday, Jesse Sanchez of reports.
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Reports to Double-A club
PWashington Nationals  F
July 5, 2017
Rodriguez reported Tuesday to Double-A Harrisburg to begin his tenure with the Nationals organization, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports.
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Joins Washington on minors deal
PWashington Nationals  F
June 26, 2017
Rodriguez agreed to a minor-league contract with the Nationals on Monday, Jon Heyman of reports.
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