Baseball’s July trading frenzy has kicked off with a flurry of activity, and that continued on Tuesday as the Baltimore Orioles acquired relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers will get minor league infielder Nick Delmonico in return.
The Orioles already have a solid closer in Jim Johnson, who is currently leading all of baseball with 35 saves. But the man known as K-Rod’s arrival in Baltimore will give the team’s bullpen some much-needed depth.
The 31-year-old Rodriguez has revived his career in Milwaukee over the past three seasons. So far in 2013 he is 1-1 with 10 saves, a 1.09 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 24.2 innings over 25 appearances.
Rodriguez was one of the game’s best relievers during his seven-year tenure with the Los Angeles Angels. In 2008 he set the single-season saves record with 62, while posting a 2.24 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. That success earned him a three-year, $37 million contract from the New York Mets.
The Mets shipped K-Rod to the Brewers on July 12, 2011 and he has been solid for them. He signed a one-year, $8 million contract in January of 2012, but was granted free agency after the season. After not finding a home in the offseason, Rodriguez re-signed with Milwaukee on April 17 of this year on a minor league deal worth about $2 million plus incentives.
So Rodriguez heads to Baltimore on a relatively cheap deal for the rest of the season. It’s a low-risk pickup that could pay huge dividends for the Orioles.
Delmonico was a sixth-round draft pick in 2011 and was hitting .244 in 50 games for Class-A Frederick at the time of the trade. The 21-year-old will be assigned to Class-A Brevard County for the Brewers.