Never too early to think about the next offseason right?
K-Rod, or Francisco Rodriguez, says this could be his last season as Los Angeles’
Anaheim’s closer. (Hat-tip Knuckle Curve) That could coincide well with the fact the Tigers could be looking for a closer at that time.
If they wanted me here, they would have done something a long time ago. But, in the meantime, I have to put that out of my head. I can’t be thinking they don’t want me here or anything like that. Just do my job. (Rodriguez)
I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing Todd Jones close forever. There is, of course, talk set-up man Fernando Rodney could step into that role. That makes me a bit nervous. (There was talk Joel Zumaya was the Tigers’ future closer, but I think we have to put that on pause until we see just how he pitches when he comes back from injury, and if he can pitch successfully without further injuring himself.) So, it is possible Detroit could be thinking about a closer at that time.
Coming off three consecutive 40-save seasons with more saves than anyone in the majors over that time, Rodriguez was seeking a deal more like the three-year, $45 million contract extension Mariano Rivera signed with the Yankees this past winter.
Rodriguez could be a hot commodity as a free agent. With a less impressive track record than Rodriguez has, former Rangers and Brewers closer Francisco Cordero was able to get a four-year, $46 million deal from the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent this offseason. (OC Register)
The question will be, is he really worth it? For whoever gets the 26-year-old, he’s not going to be cheap. And there’s a thought put forward by A’s GM Billy Beane which says you can pretty much create a closer. Sure, it has to be a pitcher with a short memory and decent enough stuff. But he’s only pitches one, maybe two innings. And most leads aren’t of the one-run variety, so there’s limited possibly of implosion. So he’ll pile up saves and look pretty good. There’s probably several guys in the organization who could fill the role and not do terrible.
On the other hand, Rodriguez is projected by Baseball Prospectus to be several wins above replacement for the next few years. With a low home run rate and a high strikeout rate, K-Rod is going to be better than any pitcher in the organization (remembering Zumaya is still a wild card at this time.)
The Tigers are probably going to remain in contention next season, and Dave Dombrowski looks like he’s going to try to put not just a very good team, but a contender on the field every year. I wouldn’t doubt this is a story line that comes up in the future.