Francisco Rodriguez was once one of the top closers in all of baseball, with three straight 40-plus save seasons (2005-2007) and a single-season major league record 62 saves in 2008 during his time with the Los Angeles Angels. He was still solid after signing with the New York Mets as a free agent, with 60 saves in 2009 and 2010 combined, but since being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 he had just 13 total saves in 2012 and 2013 in largely a set-up role.
Jim Henderson was slated to open the season as Milwaukee’s closer after posting 28 saves in 2013, but manager Ron Roenicke has expressed concern about the way he was pitching late in the spring. Rodriguez got the save in Monday’s season-opening win over the Atlanta Braves, and Roenicke confirmed he’ll continue to get save opportunities in the near-term. Can “K-Rod” re-establish himself as an elite fantasy closer?
Rodriguez has fallen off the radar of fantasy baseball owners over the last couple years, but his K/9 rate (10.4) rebounded to a level close to his prime last season and combined with a 2.7 BB/9 rate he showed closer-worthy skills once again even without the full-time role. If any issues Henderson is having continue well into the season, Rodriguez may never relinquish save opportunities as long as he stays healthy.
The start of the season has once again shown fantasy owners the volatility of the save category, but those that maintain reasonable expectations regarding the possibility Henderson takes back the ninth inning for Milwaukee can consider adding Rodriguez. His ownership percentage in Yahoo! leagues (38 percent right now) is on the rise, and it’s a safe assumption any owners that want to add Rodriguez will have to act quickly regardless of league host.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.