The Phillies increased their options for the back of the bullpen on Saturday. The move was to add 437 career saves and the closer who saved the most games in a season in MLB history. According to a report, Francisco Rodriguez is joining the Phillies on a minor-league deal.
Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports broke the news:
comeback kid? francisco rodriguez has agreement to sign with the phillies. #krod— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 28, 2018
The report was later confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Rodriguez is one of the more accomplished closers in major league history. Rodriguez holds the all-time single-season saves record with 62 saves, recorded in 2008 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The next closest was former Phillies reliever Bobby Thigpen, who saved 57 with the Chicago White Sox in 1990.
Phillies fans likely remember Rodriguez best from his time with the New York Mets, which spanned 2009 through 2011. During the 2011 season, Rodriguez was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he closed games until mid-2013, when he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez re-signed with the Brewers in 2014 and made two consecutive All-Star appearances with them.
In 2016, Rodriguez signed a one-year deal with a contract option with the Detroit Tigers. Rodriguez pitched well enough in 2016 that the Tigers exercised the option in 2017. However, Rodriguez pitched to a 2-5 record and 7.82 earned run average that the Tigers released Rodriguez in June. Rodriguez signed a minor-league deal with the Washington Nationals afterward, but made just five appearances for Double-A Harrisburg before being released.
Rodriguez will head to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee with the hopes of earning a spot on the big league club. As it stands now, Hector Neris is probable to return to the closer's role, though some have suggested newly-signed Tommy Hunter will get a chance. Rodriguez could also earn a spot on the club and not close.
Pitchers and catchers report on February 14.