Unable to call it a career, former closer Francisco Rodriguez is trying to work his way back to an MLB roster. I’d say time is running out.
When he was at the height of his MLB career, Francisco Rodriguez was one of the most feared relievers in the game. He quickly rose to one of the most dominant closers in the game. Now, after being out of the league for three years, he is trying to get back in.
A fireballing pitcher known as K-Rod, Rodriguez burst onto the scene in 2002 with the Anaheim Angels. At just twenty years of age, he threw 5.2 innings in the regular season (striking out 13) and 8.2 innings in the World Series (striking out 13). The Angels had their first World Series Championship as well as a closer for the future.
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Rodriguez would save 208 games over the next six seasons for the Angels, including a league-leading 62 in 2008. He didn’t allow home runs, he didn’t allow baserunners and his K/9 hovered around 12.
For the next eight years he would bounce around the league making stops with four other teams. There was one constant, at each stop, he would rack up strikeouts and tally saves.
His final season with the Detroit Tigers was marred with a terrible earned run average, 7.82, and the lowest strikeout total he had accumulated since his first season in the league.
Now, while sitting fourth on the All-Time saves list, Francisco Rodriguez wants another chance.
The six-time All-Star last pitched professionally a year ago in the Mexican League and hasn’t been affiliated with a Major League franchise since his stay with the 2017 Washington Nationals Single-A affiliate.
He has two things working against him in his quest to return to the Majors. He is 38 years old and he has been out of the league for three years.
Fernando Rodney, albeit five years older, is still looking for work, in a game which is getting younger by the day. Getting back into game shape after not seeing Major League quality hitters for such a long time will prove difficult.
I admire his willingness to work hard and drive himself towards that big-league contract. Cracking a 40-man roster is tough these days, and there are plenty of younger/better options out there than K-Rod.
Time to officially file those papers with the league office and enjoy your tropical drinks on the beach Francisco.