Francisco Rodriguez has gone from closing in New York to setting up in Milwaukee.
K-Rod, who had 23 saves in 26 opportunities for the Mets, was acquired by the Brewers with cash for two players to be named, the team announced after Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
“Francisco has been one of the best relievers in the game for many years,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin said in a statement. “He is a high-quality arm who will be a tremendous asset to our bullpen as we prepare for the final months of the regular season and playoffs.”
The assumption is that Rodriguez didn’t have the Brewers on his no-trade list and thus couldn’t block the deal that almost certainly will prevent his $17.5 million option for 2012 from vesting.
Rodriguez’s option would kick in with 55 games finished this year, which is the big reason the Mets wanted to move him. The Brewers won’t want to be responsible for that kind of payout, so they’ll use him as an eighth-inning guy in front of John Axford for the remainder of the season and then likely let him leave in free agency.
The Mets figure to turn to Bobby Parnell in the closer’s role as K-Rod’s replacement. The hard-throwing Parnell, who has one career save to Rodriguez’s 291, has a 2.92 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings this season.
In theory, Rodriguez’s addition will give the Brewers a pair of dominant right-handers at the end of games. However, it remains to be seen how K-Rod will react to the move. He surely would have preferred to remain a closer and probably only partly for financial reasons. It’s the first time in seven years that he’ll have had to work in a setup role. In fact, he hasn’t recorded a single hold since 2004.