New Brewer reliever says he’ll be ready when called
DENVER Francisco Rodriguez says he’s fine with being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers despite previously indicating he did not want to be dealt to the club.
When Rodriguez signed with the New York Mets after the 2008 season he and his former agent, Paul Kinzer, created a list of 10 teams he did not want to be traded to, and Milwaukee was on that list. Rodriguez said his agent never sent the letter to the players association or major league baseball.
“I’m still trying to find out what happened. I was told by my ex-agent about the 10-team list and Milwaukee was one of them,” Rodriguez said. “When I got the phone call from the GM and told I was traded I was a little confused. I just found out my agent never sent the letter to the players association or MLB. The Mets had an opportunity to trade me to any place.”
Rodriguez said Milwaukee was on the list because it had an established closer in Trevor Hoffman, who has since retired.
“That was my No. 1 reason. At that time Hoffman was here,” he said. “That’s not an issue at all. I’m a Brewer now. I just want to win.”
The Mets sent Rodriguez and cash to the Brewers on Tuesday night for two players to be named. The Mets’ first-year general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday in New York he told Rodriguez’s former agent there was no list.
“We proceded with the trade market on that basis,” Alderson said. “I had discussions with the former agents in the last two or three weeks and we made them aware that as far as we knew there was no list.”
Rodriguez said he had heard rumors he might be traded but he was taken aback by Tuesday’s deal.
“It was a surprise, definitely, and a little bit of a shock,” he said. “I knew I was on the market, I knew eventually the Mets were going to find a way to trade to me, but I never thought it would have been Milwaukee.”
Hoffman may be gone but the Brewers have a reliable closer in place in John Axford, who is 23 of 25 in save situations this year. Manager Ron Roenicke said Axford will be used in a save situation for Thursday’s series opener in Colorado but added Rodriguez will get an opportunity to close games.
“I talked to them both to let them know what I’m thinking,” Roenicke said. “We’re going to see how it goes. I told Frankie in tonight’s game if we have a save situation I was going to put Ax in, but he’s going to be closing games. We’re going to see how it goes. All I know is the eighth, ninth inning, we should be really good.”
Roenicke said his choice of closer could come down to individual situations.
“Sometimes we’ll look at matchups, sometimes we’ll look at how guys have done against them in the past and maybe match that up a little bit better,” he said. “I just look at like we’ve added a great piece to our bullpen.”
Rodriguez is a four-time All-Star and set the single-season saves record with 62 in 2008 with the Los Angeles Angels. He is 32-27 with 291 saves and a 2.54 ERA with the Angels and Mets.
“I’ve been closing all my career, my mindset is as a closer, but we’ve got a good closer here, too,” Rodriguez said. “How it’s going to play out, it’s up to the manager. I just have to be ready when they make the phone call to the pen and call my name.”
Rodriguez said he has no bitterness toward the Mets.
“It’s a business, that’s how I look at it,” he said. “When I signed with them I did want to stay there but things started going south, things started going wrong. We didn’t perform well enough. Unfortunately they have issues losing money so it’s understandable they had to get rid of big guys with big contracts.”