Brewers Act Quickly To Land Rodriguez From Mets

The Deal
The Brewers fired the opening salvo of trading season by acquiring closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets, in a deal consummated during the All-Star Game, for two players to be named. New York also sends about $5 million to Milwaukee to cover the remainder of K-Rod’s 2011 salary.

The Mets reportedly will select two players from a list of five Brewers minor leaguers at some point in September.

UPDATE: On Sept. 1, the Brewers announced that lefty reliever Danny Ray Herrera and low Class A righty Adrian Rosario are the players to be named headed to the Mets.

Rodriguez has returned to form this season after a controversial 2010 campaign in which he did not pitch after Aug. 14 because he injured his hand in a clubhouse altercation with his girlfriend’s father. He forfeited a month and half of salary while he finished out the year on the restricted list. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of Rodriguez’s 2011 season has been the countdown to his $17.5 million option, which vests if he finishes 55 games. He finished 34 games for New York prior to the all-star break, while notching saves in 23 of 26 opportunities.

UPDATE: On July 16, the Brewers and Rodriguez agreed to: 1) increase the contract’s buyout amount by $500,000, and 2) change the 2012 vesting option into a mutual option.

Rodriguez stands to supplant John Axford as closer for the Brewers, though with a 2.83 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 23-for-25 save conversion rate, Axford had been virtually as effective as Rodriguez this season.

Before the 2011 season even began, the Brewers already had sacrificed five young players, including top prospects Brett Lawrie and Jake Odorizzi, in trades to acquire rotation stalwarts Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. With the Rodriguez trade, they stand to lose two more pieces from a thin system. Milwaukee headed into the all-star break tied with the Cardinals (at 49-43) atop the National League Central division, indicating that their offseason maneuvering had paid dividends.

 
Mets Acquire
Danny Ray Herrera, lhp

Age: 26.

Born: Oct. 21, 1984 in Odessa, Texas.

Ht.: 5-6. Wt.: 165. Bats: L. Throws: L.

School: New Mexico.

Career Transactions: Selected by Rangers in 45th round of 2006 draft; signed June 22, 2006 … Traded by Rangers with RHP Edinson Volquez to Reds for OF Josh Hamilton, Dec. 21, 2007 … Claimed on waivers by Brewers from Reds, May 23, 2011.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Louisville (IL) AAA 0 4 3.86 17 0 1 18.2 20 11 8 1 7 15 1.45
Milwaukee (NL) MLB 0 0 21.60 2 0 0 1.2 6 5 4 1 1 0 4.20
Nashville (PCL) AAA 1 0 1.48 29 0 2 42.2 32 8 7 2 8 39 0.94
Minor League Total 1 4 2.20 46 0 3 61.1 52 19 15 3 15 54 1.09

A 5-foot-6 lefthander, Herrera tops out near 84 mph but presents a tough look for lefty batters because of his deceptive delivery, pitch action and excellent control. Nothing he throws is straight, including a 78-82 mph fastball, 76-78 slider and mid-60s screwball. Big league lefties have hit just .213/.278/.306 against Herrera in 160 plate appearances, though righties have had a much easier time (.977 OPS). He will be out of options in 2012.

 
Adrian Rosario, rhp

Age: 21.

Born: Sept. 30, 1989 in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 180. Bats: R. Throws: R.

Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Brewers, Aug. 21, 2006 … Selected by Orioles from Brewers in Rule 5 major league draft, Dec. 9, 2010 … Returned to Brewers, March 24, 2011.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Brevard Cty. (FSL) HiA 4 5 5.83 16 14 0 66.1 79 48 43 9 33 39 1.69
Wisconsin (MWL) LoA 0 1 1.34 19 0 5 33.2 21 7 5 2 12 42 0.98
Minor League Total 4 6 4.32 35 14 5 100 100 55

48 11 45 81 1.45

The Orioles selected Rosario in the Rule 5 draft last December hoping they could stash him in the bullpen and use him in low-leverage spots. With just 14 appearances in full-season ball, though, Rosario was not ready for prime time, and Baltimore returned him to Milwaukee after he allowed three hits, three walks and two runs in two spring innings. An above-average, low-90s fastball that he can cut or run is Rosario’s best pitch. He throws an effective sinking changeup in the low 80s but has below-average feel for a slider and downer curveball. Rosario went 4-5, 5.86 in 14 starts in the high Class A Florida State League this season, walking nearly as many (31) as he struck out (36) in 63 innings. He fared much better after a demotion to the low Class A Midwest League and a move to the bullpen. Rosario saved five of six opportunities and struck out 42 in 33 2/3 innings as a reliever for the Timber Rattlers.

 
Brewers Acquire
Francisco Rodriguez, rhp

Age: 29. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $5 million, of which Mets sent $5 million ($11.5 million salary for 2011, then either $17.5 million mutual option or $4 million buyout for 2012).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
New York (NL) 2011 2 2 3.16 42 0 23 42.2 44 15 15 3 16 46 1.41
3-Year Totals 9 10 3.05 165 0 83 168 140 63 57 13 75 186 1.28

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