Milwaukee Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez was one of the better relief arms on the market, but he had a $17.5 million option that would automatically vest if he had finished 55 games this year. He had already finished 34 for the New York Mets as their closer, so the option wasn't just an elephant in the room -- the elephant was smoking a cigar, blowing smoke in your face, and being unbelievably obnoxious like Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear.
When the Brewers traded for him, then, it was ostensibly to serve as the setup man for John Axford, which made a certain sense even if the option didn't exist. The two pitchers have been statistical equals this year, for the most part.
But tie goes to the bigger name, so the Brewers bought out the vesting option for K-Rod for an as-yet undisclosed amount, according to Ken Rosenthal, freeing the once-closer to be the Brewers' now-closer. By getting rid of the option, Rodriguez will be a free agent after this season.
It's possible that while Axford and Rodriguez have had similar success this year, it was more important to keep the latter pitcher happy. Whatever the case, the Brewers have a better bullpen than they did before the All-Star Game. We don't yet know what it's going to cost them. And chalk another one up for Scott Boras.