Washington Nationals right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez was traded to the Chicago Cubs last night in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Ian Dickinson. For Nationals fans, his reign of terror is over in Washington D.C.
Last season, Rodriguez was expected to be the Nationals’ future closer. However, it was quite clear from the get-go that he may not be the man for the job. Despite being able to throw 100 mph seemingly at will, Rodriguez still had his fair share of flaws on the mound.
Usually, it was quite obvious to tell early in his outing if it was going to be a masterpiece or a train wreck; rarely was it anything in between. There were times in 2012 where Rodriguez would bounce the very first pitch off the dirt in front of the plate, and it was not all that uncommon to see him rear back and fire a heater straight over the catcher’s head.
After going on the DL for a back injury and eventually being demoted to the minor leagues to try to find his rhythm on the mound, the Nationals gave him another chance in 2013 to prove his worth. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, he proved that he wasn’t worth all that much.
In 18 total innings of work this season, Rodriguez allowed 14 hits, gave up eight runs, struck out 11 hitters and walked 16 more.
Last week, the Nationals designated him for assignment and then, last night, traded him to Chicago for Dickinson. He leaves Washington with a 4.46 ERA after three seasons. In 11 career save chances for the Nationals, he blew six of them. That isn’t exactly what you would expect out of your closer.
While the bullpen for Nationals may be thinning, there wasn’t anybody that would have fans holding their breath more than Rodriguez. While he was able to throw triple-digit darts with ease, control was something that he just didn’t have. Whenever things broke down and a man was allowed on base, Rodriguez would then have a complete meltdown on the mound and manager Davey Johnson would have to turn to the bullpen to clean up the mess.
Look out, Chicago, Hurricane Henry Rodriguez is headed your way.