Coming off the heels of a season where their pitching staff was among the league’s worst in several important statistical categories, the Los Angeles Angels could be looking to add a familiar face in Francisco Rodriguez.
Rodriguez spent his first seven years of his career with the Angels before leaving after the 2008 regular season as he signed a three-year, $37 million deal with the New York Mets. He would initially struggle in his first season with the Mets as he had a 3.71 ERA with 3-6 record, 73 strikeouts, a career-high 38 walks, and converted 35 out of 42 save opportunities in 68.0 innings pitched.
He would have a more effective season on the mound the following season as he posted a 2.20 ERA with a 4-2 record, converted 25 out of 30 save opportunities, 67 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. In his third season with the Mets, Rodriguez was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he spent the next two and a half seasons before getting traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the trade deadline last July.
Last season prior to trade, he was an effective pitcher for the Brewers out of the bullpen as a middle reliever as he had a 1.09 ERA with 1-1 record, 26 strikeouts, 10 saves and one hold in 24.2 innings pitched. After he was dealt to the Orioles, Rodriguez struggled as evident by his 4.50 ERA with 2-1 record, and allowing 25 hits in 22.o innings pitched.
Although he had a problems on the mound last season with Baltimore, the 11-year veteran showed that he could be a reliable arm out of the bullpen with dominance as a reliever for Milwaukee.
If the Angels indeed decide to pursue the 31-year-0ld, it would be for him to pitch in a role as a middle reliever and could possibly step in as a closer if Ernesto Frieri were to struggle. Rodriguez has much familiarity as a closer as he has recorded 304 saves in his career with 208 of them coming in an Angels’ uniform.
He may be far from being the pitcher that recorded a MLB-record 62 saves with the Halos in the 2008 regular season, but the addition of Rodriguez would help improve an Angels’ bullpen that was one of the major reasons why the team failed to achieve any type of consistent success last season.