Francisco Rodriguez Traded to the Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers made the first splash of the trade season in the NL Central last night when they added late inning reliever Francisco Rodriguez.  Rodriguez will give Milwaukee a strong combination in the back of the bullpen when paired with John Axford.  However, the move comes at a big price.  Rodriguez is making $11.5 M this year, and has a $3.5 M buyout on his option next year, which is almost a guarantee, since his option of $17.5 M is way too high.

I’ve talked a lot about how the Pirates could get a big upgrade to their team by giving up salary and very little else.  I mentioned this yesterday when I talked about how the Cubs would be the perfect team for the Pirates to trade with, as they could get Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena for minimal return, outside of salary relief for the Cubs.  The Rodriguez trade proves that point.

I calculated that Rodriguez has a value of -$1.6 M for the remainder of the 2011 season.  Add in his $3.5 M buyout, and you’ve got a -$5.1 M value.  Milwaukee got $5 M from New York in the deal, which means the total value they received was -$0.1 M.  As for the return of prospects, Milwaukee sent two players to be named later.  It’s hard to imagine that these players will be prospects of any note, as the biggest thing for the Mets is salary relief.  Rodriguez was their closer, and he was close to getting his 2012 option guaranteed if he continued closing out games.  The Mets couldn’t just remove him from the closers role, so the only option was trading him away, and avoiding that $17.5 M next year.

There are opportunities for the Pirates to make similar deals.  All they have to do is take on salary.  They can upgrade the major league team, keep the minor league system intact, and end up with a very affordable payroll of around $53 M in the process.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Scott Feldman

    All they have to do is take salary…that is priceless.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

    That’s all they have had to do for 18 years and it hasn’t happened yet so….I am not holding my breath.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

    With that move the Brewers now have a better bullpen in addition to already having a better Offense and Defense.  Pirates will be doomed to a 3rd place finish at best.  

    • Anonymous

      the Brewers have one of the worst defenses in the league.

  • http://twitter.com/jrodcm18 Jarrod Ranone

    better offense is for sure. defense i think they are about even.  pitching staff i would still give the pirates the edge unless greinke bounces back which he could.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F5TR535NXXU4HFKUVR5HERHYOU princeofjupiter

    A $17.5 option for 2012 automatically kicking in if he finishes 55 games. What a ridiculous clause. Why do teams continue to give Relievers multi-season, big money deals and contract clauses like this?
    Brewers better pray that Axford stays healthy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OZG2IYY4UIJEND5745XPPUOSHY steve-O K

    Dont take on debt relief of our oponent.  put that to the draft.  I agree we finish 3rd place.  Please sell Maholm and Hanrahan, Tabata and Biemel and Overpay  The time to rebuild is now and make our minors a top 5 in the game.  Philly’s Singleton and Texas Profar is exactly what this franchise needs to be a top contender and not a 3rd place NL Central contender.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

      I don’t agree with that, I think Overbay needs to go but nobody is going to take him… Can’t trade Hanny or Maholm, extend Maholm.  We need to trade players that won’t make 40 man roster next season.  

  • Anonymous

    There is no way that I trade Maholm, pitching is why we are where we are and taking a chance on Olendorf or Lincoln in a pennant race does not seem like the way to go for me. Lincoln could come up and be a sixth starter or a long relief swingman, I would go for that.

  • Anonymous

    I still don’t see how paying ARam $16m in 2012 is anything close to a good idea.