K-Rod May Not Close for Brewers

Though we really shouldn’t care about K-Rod now that he’s left the Mets, it’s interesting — to me, anyway — that he is going to a below-the-radar team that already has a closer, but a “no-name” one at that.

I imagined that K-Rod would wind up with someone like the Yankees — who have Mariano Rivera — or the Red Sox (Jon Papelbon), and he’d have no choice but to be happy in a setup role. On a big-market team with a well-known closer, K-Rod wouldn’t really have the option of demanding to close.

But now that he’s a Brewer, K-Rod and his new agent Scott Boras may do just that.

My ESPN SweetSpot colleague Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker had this immediate reaction to the trade:

This is absolutely not the final piece. The Brewers still desperately need a SS and could definitely use a 3B as well.

The pen didn’t need a closer — John Axford will remain in the closer’s role, more likely — but it did need a pitcher that could get outs from both sides of the plate. The only two guys in the Brewers bullpen who could really be counted on for that prior to the move were Axford and Takashi Saito, who can’t pitch on back-to-back days yet due to an injury.

That said, there are no real concerns about the vesting option, as I believe Axford will continue to close.

Jack goes into further detail on his blog: Milwaukee Brewers Acquire Francisco Rodriguez — check it out.

Boras has already started rumbling about K-Rod being a closer. According to Jon Heyman:

Brewers GM Doug Melvin made the trade before checking with K-Rod, but Boras and Melvin spoke about the subject shortly after the trade. Boras made the case that K-Rod should close, suggesting he wouldn’t do nearly as well setting up, while Melvin apparently made no commitment, suggesting only that things “will work out,” or words to that effect.

It will be interesting to watch how this drama plays out — particularly considering that the Brewers are most certainly in the hunt and something like this could create negativity in the clubhouse.

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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