Francisco Rodriguez takes $3.5 million pay cut to avoid arbitration with Brewers

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Francisco Rodriguez was paid $11.5 million last season and when the Brewers tendered him a contract for 2012 they were risking his possibly being awarded a similar figure in arbitration, but the two sides have avoided a hearing with a one-year, $8 million deal.

That’s still probably more than Milwaukee wanted to pay for a setup man, but Rodriguez was excellent last season with a 2.64 ERA and 79/26 K/BB ratio in 72 innings for the Mets and Brewers.

Had the two sides gone to a hearing Rodriguez likely would have been awarded more than $8 million based on his 2011 salary and track record, but because it would have been a non-guaranteed contract the Brewers also could have cut him in spring training while being on the hook for just a fraction of that money.

At that point the market for closers and veteran setup man would be even more buyer-friendly than it is now, so Rodriguez might have struggled to find another gig for $8 million on short notice. Or at least that’s the only way his accepting $8 million makes sense to me.