Brewers, K-Rod agree to one-year contract
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Francisco Rodriguez on Tuesday, avoiding an arbitration hearing with the right-handed reliever.
Rodriguez, 30, appeared in 31 games for the Brewers after being acquired during the All-Star Game last season. He went 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA, setting up for closer John Axford. Overall, he was 6-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 23 saves in 73 appearances with the Mets and Brewers.
After the trade, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, negotiated a restructuring that made his 2012 deal a mutual option instead of a sole vesting option for $17.5 million. Under original terms, the option would have vested if Rodriguez finished 55 games before the end of the season.
After the season, the Brewers offered Rodriguez arbitration under the assumption he would seek a multi-year deal with a team that would give him a chance to return to a closer's role. When the market failed to materialize, Rodriguez opted to accept arbitration.
Melvin said Tuesday that the team was well-aware Rodriguez might accept the arbitration offer, a situation that was made easier to deal with since Axford wasn't yet eligible for arbitration and earned less than $500,000 a year ago.
"If John would have been making $4 or $5 million, it probably would have been more difficult for us to keep him," Melvin said.
The sides then worked out a deal worth $8 million, a figure that came about after other closers on the market landed similar deals. Melvin said the team has no plans to trade Rodriguez, as some have speculated.
"The closers market did change a little bit with (Ryan) Madsen at $9 million and (Heath) Bell at $8.5 million," Melvin said. "We feel very good about having him and (John) Axford and having (Rodriguez) the whole year. We only had him half the season last year."
The $8 million represents a $3.5 million pay cut from last season, when "K-Rod" earned $11.5 million in the final year of a three-year, $37 million he signed with the Mets in December 2008.
Loe signs: The Brewers also reached agreement on a one-year contract with right-hander Kameron Loe.
Loe, 30, went 4-7 for the Brewers last season with a 3.50 ERA in 72 appearances (72 innings pitched). In two seasons with Milwaukee, he's 7-12 with a 3.18 ERA.
His deal, worth $2.18 million plus performance incentives, leaves the Brewers with two players, starter Shaun Marcum and reliever Jose Veras, eligible for arbitration.