Wednesday, November 18, 2015


One of the few teams to go into the offseason without a bona fide closer was the Detroit Tigers.  After seeing Joe Nathan got under the knife and then trading replacement Joaquin Soria, the Tigers made it a point to get a better 9th inning alternative once free agency began.  Well the Tigers instead went the trade route as they picked up Francisco Rodriguez Wednesday for a minor leaguer and a player to be named later.  Rodriguez was part of a major influx of closers that were made available on the trade market such as Andrew Miller, David Robertson, Aroldis Chapman, and Ken Giles.  Well the Tigers went with the cheapest option in Rodriguez which makes sense since the team is not exactly a lock to be a prime contender in 2016 after dismantling the team last season.  Be that as it may, Rodriguez is the only talking point here in fantasy baseball and with that in mind let's see what he could have in store for his owners in 2016. 

Now aging sharply as he turns 34 in January, Rodriguez is a completely different pitcher than the one who took the game by storm when he debuted with the Los Angeles Angels in 2002.  Back then, Rodriguez was a fireballing monster as he rang his fastball in at near 100-mph and piled up the K's like they were going out of style.  Eventually though the velocity began to leak for Rodriguez as he turned 30 and it almost cost him a major league job as he bombed out to the tune of a 4.38 ERA in 2012 with the Brewers.  With his career on the brink, Rodriguez went back to the drawing board and reinvented himself on the fly to much success.  Relying less on his fastball and more on his still very good offspeed stuff, Rodriguez responded with one of his best seasons ever in 2014 when he registered 44 saves with a 3.04 ERA.  While the K rate dipped under 10.00, his 9.66 mark was still impressive indeed.  In proving that his 2014 campaign was no fluke, Rodriguez was even better last season as he pitched to a tiny 2.21 ERA and locked down 38 more saves.  While the fastball now sits around 90 most of the time, the expanded pitching arsenal is still netting a bunch of K's for Rodriguez and is helping to keep him very viable as a near top-ten fantasy baseball closer.  While we always have the feeling the bottom will drop out on Rodriguez, we will go with the notion that he will be terrific for at least another season. 


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