When Francisco Rodriguez was traded in the middle of last season, he grumbled a bit. The Brewers had a closer, John Axford, and he was doing quite well for himself. Rodriguez's agent -- the always endearing Scott Boras -- didn't think much of the Brewers' plan to use Rodriguez as a setup man.
"Francisco Rodriguez is a historic closer," Boras said at the player availabilities at a ritzy area hotel. "He's not going anywhere to be a setup man."
"Closers don't make good setup men," said Boras, who represented Eric Gagne when the former Cy Young Award-winning closer bombed as a Red Sox setup man in 2007. "Does anyone want an unhappy setup man in their clubhouse?"
If you read between the lines, it seems like he was suggesting that Rodriguez didn't want to be a setup man. And as the season progressed, Rodriguez became surlier and surlier, even as the Brewers kept winning.
"I'm not fine," Rodriguez said Tuesday. "They told me I'd have the opportunity to close some games, and we've had 20-some save opportunities since then and I haven't even had one."
Then came free agency, K-Rod's chance to escape the shackles of the eighth inning! He was free! All he had to do was find a team!
Well, shucks. Looks like the offers weren't to his liking, and Francisco Rodriguez will be the game's most expensive setup man, as he's accepting arbitration from the Milwaukee Brewers. The not-closer earned $11.5 million last year, and with a bump through arbitration, he could make more than $14 million. Zounds.
Jon Heyman says that a trade is a possibility, but that Brewers GM Doug Melvin was OK either way when it came to K-Rod in arbitration. But if the Brewers took a gamble on offering him arbitration in the hopes of extra draft picks … they lost the gamble.
Even if the price isn't exactly what the Brewers had in mind, it's still pretty nice to have Axford and K-Rod back-to-back in the late innings. No word on whether this will affect the team's pursuit of other players, such as Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez, or, uh, Yuniesky Betancourt.