According to a report from Jon Heyman on Fangragsports.com, the Washington Nationals are close to signing former Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez. The club is reportedly desperate for bullpen help, and Rodriguez is now a free agent, after being released by the Detroit Tigers last Friday.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Nationals will send Rodriguez to the minors once the deal is done, and now Heyman reports that it’s a done deal.
Rodriguez struggled to the tune of a 7.82 ERA in 28 relief appearances with the Tigers this season. In 25-1/3 innings, he carries a 2-5 win-loss record, giving up 22 earned runs on 31 hits, including nine home runs. Rodriguez has recorded seven saves and a major-league-leading six blown saves for the year.
Rodriguez is a 15-year veteran, and he leads all active players with 437 saves. He still holds the major league record of 62 saves in one season, which he accomplished with the Los Angeles Angels in 2008.
The Nationals, currently sitting nine games ahead of their nearest division rival, have had bullpen issues all season. They have used Koda Glover, Shawn Kelly, Blake Treinen and Matt Albers in the closers’ role at various times this season.
Any club can sign Rodriguez for a pro rated portion of the major league minimum salary of $535,000 per season, or about $267,500 for half a year. The Tigers would save that salary plus any tax on that amount on their 2017 payroll. The Nationals have also been connected to current Tigers closer Justin Wilson in trade rumors.