One day after learning they would be without the services of Ryan Braun for the remaining 65 games of the season, the Brewers officially brandished the “for sale” sign and found their first taker. Milwaukee traded closer-for-the-moment Francisco Rodriguez, the No. 3 man on the active saves list behind Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan, to the Orioles for high Class A third baseman Nick Delmonico.
Nick Delmonico, 3b/1b
Age: 21 Bats: L
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in sixth round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011
The hits haven’t been falling for Delmonico this season at high Class A, though he has a manageable strikeout rate (22.5 percent of plate appearances) and solid secondary skills (walks and power). Scouts like Delmonico’s hitting approach and think he has the loft in his swing to continue hitting for power. (He ranked fifth in the Carolina League with 13 homers at the time of the trade.) Delmoncio must make hay in the batter’s box, because he’s a fringy--though strong-armed--third baseman or potentially a first baseman. If he stays healthy, he could be ready for a big league audition during the second half of the 2015 season, though the bar is set high for young corner players.
Francisco Rodriguez, rhp
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of approximately $2 million salary for 2013 (details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts).
The Brewers made a shrewd decision in re-signing Rodriguez to a minor league deal, calling him up and installing him as closer, then flipping him to Baltimore for a player who fills an organizational need: a lefty-hitting, corner-infield bat. For his part, Rodriguez continues to miss bats and find the strike zone despite his busy delivery, throwing with the same velocity he’s had for these past four seasons, though he finds his fastball a bit less trustworthy than he once did.