The Phillies have money to spend, so there's probably worse ways to burn cash than tossing a few million dollars at a six-time All-Star looking to resurrect his career.
The Phillies signed reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training, the club confirmed Sunday. He'll earn $2.5 million if he makes the Major League roster, plus the deal includes bonus incentives that could elevate the value of the contract to $3.75 million.
It's a low-risk, high-reward move. The type of transaction that makes sense for a team rounding the final stage of a complete rebuild.
The 35-year-old right-hander saved 44 games for the Tigers in 2016, but he was 2-5 with a 7.82 ERA in 28 appearances last season before being released by Detroit in June.
Assuming things go smoothly and he reaches the big league club, Rodriguez's addition provides manager Gabe Kapler another veteran arm at the backend of the bullpen to team with Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter. It also provides a safety net for Hector Neris if he falters in the closing role.
Kapler has made it clear since he arrived in Philadelphia that he's not opposed to relying heavily on the bullpen.
"I'm a matchup type of guy," Kapler said in December at the Winter Meetings. "I like to play percentages and have options to make an informed decision."
He may also have to rely heavily on the bullpen if the starters fail to regularly last at least six innings, a legitimate concern with camp opening in two weeks.
"You can never have enough experienced, quality arms," Kapler said. "This is a funny game, you never know what can happen."
Rodriguez is fourth on the all-time saves list with 437 and set the single-season record of 62 in 2008 when he was with the Los Angeles Angels.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
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