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Francisco Rodriguez takes $3.5 million pay cut to avoid arbitration with Brewers

Jan 17, 2012, 1:14 PM EDT

Francisco Rodriguez AP

Francisco Rodriguez was paid $11.5 million last season and when the Brewers tendered him a contract for 2012 they were risking his possibly being awarded a similar figure in arbitration, but the two sides have avoided a hearing with a one-year, $8 million deal.

That’s still probably more than Milwaukee wanted to pay for a setup man, but Rodriguez was excellent last season with a 2.64 ERA and 79/26 K/BB ratio in 72 innings for the Mets and Brewers.

Had the two sides gone to a hearing Rodriguez likely would have been awarded more than $8 million based on his 2011 salary and track record, but because it would have been a non-guaranteed contract the Brewers also could have cut him in spring training while being on the hook for just a fraction of that money.

At that point the market for closers and veteran setup man would be even more buyer-friendly than it is now, so Rodriguez might have struggled to find another gig for $8 million on short notice. Or at least that’s the only way his accepting $8 million makes sense to me.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    MIlwaukee made the best arbitration deal in baseball with this one, no question.

  2. hansob - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Isn’t there a maximum 20% pay cut in arbitration, or is that only for players coming off an arbitration year?

    • jwbiii - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Rodriguez was a free agent. Doesn’t apply to him.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        I was wondering that too, actually – thanks!

    • jwbiii - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      Actually, the salary cut rule doesn’t apply to anyone until after today’s deadline. Rich Hill, an Arb 1, had TJ surgery last June and signed a minor league deal. The terms weren’t disclosed, but I assume it’s a split contract with a raise in it for him when/if he makes it back to the Red Sox.

  3. henryd3rd - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Frankie where was Omar Minaya when you really needed him? $8,000,000.00 for next season? Does that include the cost of his anger management sessions as well?

  4. sknut - Jan 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    If the Brew Crew struggle he could be an attractive trade chip especially at that price.

  5. mvp43 - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Will he still be open to being an 8th inning guy instead of a closer? that be the question.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      He doesn’t have a choice.

  6. gammagammahey - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Huh, I had no idea until now that contracts awarded in arbitration are non-guaranteed.

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