Phillies sign veteran closer Francisco “KRod” Rodriguez to minor league deal

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 2: Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez
PHILADELPHIA - MAY 2: Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez /

Another veteran arm has been added to the Phillies bullpen

One of the best closers of the early 2000’s has been added to the Phillies bullpen for the 2018 season. Francisco “KRod” Rodriguez has reportedly signed a minor league deal with Philadelphia with an invitation to minor league camp, according to Jon Heyman.

KRod can make up to $3.75 million with incentives with Philadelphia if he makes the team out of spring training. The 36-year-old joins Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter as potential backend of the bullpen arms to start the season.

A six-time All-Star, KRod led the league in saves three times, which included an astounding 62 saves for the Angels in 2008. Rodriguez is fourth on the all-time saves list with 437, just 41 behind Lee Smith.

ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Francisco Rodriguez
ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 11: Francisco Rodriguez /

Signed out of Venezuela as a teenage amateur free agent by the Anaheim Angels in 1998, Rodriguez made his major league debut at the age of 20 just four years later. Despite pitching just 5.2 innings, he was credited with a World Series championship as a rookie in Anaheim.

Two years later he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting despite completing just 12 saves, but compiling a 1.82 ERA and striking out 123 batters in 84 innings, thus earning him the nickname KRod.

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Rodriguez has three top-four finishes in the Cy Young voting and was sixth in the MVP voting with his 62 saves in 2008 behind Dustin Pedroia, Justin Morneau, Kevin Youkilis, Joe Mauer, and Carlos Quinton. His Cy Young campaign was denied by Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, both of whom the Phillies would trade for in the coming years.

Known for being a hothead, Rodriguez was arrested in 2010 for punching the father of his girlfriend outside of Citi Field after a loss. Rodriguez tore a ligament in his thumb and was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Two years later he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, but the charges were dropped after she returned to Venezuela and did not respond to attorneys.

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Sounding like a changed man, Rodriguez can use his past to educate the young Phillies of the future. He’s a low-risk, high reward option after a rough season with the Tigers last year posting a 7.82 ERA in just 28 games.