MLB Trade Rumors: Detroit Tigers Acquire Francisco Rodriguez

The Detroit Tigers have bolstered their bullpen with the acquisition of veteran closing pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, as first reported by Venezuelan journalist Augusto Cárdenas.

In addition to Betancourt, the Brewers will also acquire a player to be named later, per James Schmehl of MLive. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also reported that the Tigers would be paying all of the remaining salary on Rodriguez’ contract, which includes his $9.5 million salary for 2016 and a potential buyout for 2017.

Rodriguez, 33, seemed to be all but forgotten as a potential option for teams looking to upgrade at closer. With names such as New York Yankees’ closer Andrew Miller and Cincinnati Reds’ flamethrower Aroldis Chapman on the market, Rodriguez was easily the more attainable of those pitchers due to his short-term contract, salary, and age.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier in the day that the Tigers inquired on both Miller and Chapman before acquiring the right-handed veteran.

No longer the flamethrower he was as a Los Angeles Angel, Rodriguez has still proven to be an effective late-inning option. In 2015, “K-Rod” notched 38 saves while pitching to a 2.21 ERA in 57 innings of work. The ERA was lowest in a full season since he posted a 2.20 ERA as a member of the 2010 New York Mets.

It’s also worth mentioning that the 14-year veteran’s peripheral stats were in line with his career norms. Rodriguez’ K/9 rate was a solid 9.8, his HR/9 rate was 0.9 and most notably, the sometimes erratic pitcher posted the lowest BB/9 rate of his career (1.7).

Due to his outstanding pitching, Rodriguez represented the National League in the All-Star game in 2015, his sixth career appearance.

As the trade became official, Rodriguez commented on the trade and what his approach will be as he suits up to pitch in the Motor City.

In recent seasons, the Tigers have trusted veterans such as Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria with the closing duties. Both pitchers experienced success at various points in their stints with the Tigers. Nathan recorded 35 saves in 2014, despite pitching to an ERA of almost five. But he went down with Tommy John surgery in 2015. As for Soria, the former Royal notched 23 saves for the Tigers in 2015 before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline.

For Tigers All-Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera, the acquisition of the active leader in saves (386) is the type of move that the team has needed for a long time.

The Brewers acquire the 20-year-old infielder Betancourt. A member of the Tigers organization since 2012, Betancourt worked his way up to the High-A level in 2015 where he hit.263 with three HR and 48 RBI. MLB Trade Rumors noted that Betancourt profiles as a middle infielder who is better at second base than shortstop. He’s also regarded as a good contract hitter.

Baseball America ranked Betancourt as the Tigers 20th best prospect after 2014.

With Rodriguez off the board, the attention now figures to land on several trade candidates and free agents. Miller and Chapman are viewed as the best players that can be had via trade and free agent Darren O’Day is considered the best reliever on the market.

[Image by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images]