The Phillies made a low-risk, high-reward move Saturday, signing reliever Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. If Rodriguez, who pitched for Detroit last season, makes the team out of camp, he’ll make $2.5-million.
After posting a 7.82 ERA with the Tigers last season, Rodriguez won’t have an easy road to the Phillies bullpen, which has already added veterans Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek over the winter. Returnees like closer Hector Neris, Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan already have spots in the Phillies bullpen. In Rodriguez’ favor is the fact that new manager Gabe Kapler plans on carrying eight relievers.
Rodriguez, 36, is fourth on baseball’s all-time saves list with 437. He’s made 948 relief appearances, the most among active pitchers, and has a career 2.86 ERA with a 52-53 record pitching for the Angels, Mets, Brewers, Orioles and Tigers. The right-hander’s career has been blemished by brushes with the law, including pleading guilty to attempted assault on his girlfriend’s father in 2010 while with the Mets. He was then charged with criminal contempt for contacting his girlfriend in violation of a restraining order. He was also arrested in 2012 for domestic violence involving his girlfriend. There are reports that he faced charges in Venezuela for punching his girlfriend, who had to be hospitalized following the attack.
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 14th, with the full squad slated to report five days later.