Could the Texas Rangers and Francisco Rodriguez be a Match?

by Todd K | Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

By Todd Kaufmann

Most mornings I go through all the rumors surrounding the Texas Rangers and I try to sift through which ones are legit and which ones I can put aside as just idle chit chat.

CJ Wilson is getting the majority of the talk around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and for good reason. He is arguably one of the most well known free agents on the market, where pitching is concerned, outside of Mark Buehrle and perhaps Roy Oswalt.

But then I saw a name come up on Wednesday morning that got me thinking. He wasn’t a guy that I wanted to touch with a ten foot pole at the trading deadling this past July, but now my interest has apparently peaked. Even if it’s just a little bit.

What we know about the Rangers at this point is they are very interested in putting closer Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation in 2010. They believe he has the stuff and the ability to be a solid middle of the rotation starter behind their ace and their number two man.

So with that being said, there will be changes coming to the bullpen from the past two years since Feliz has occupied the closing role. Craig Elsten of 619 Sports in San Diego, has covered the San Diego Padres for quite some time and has watched right hander Mike Adams since he was brought over in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Adams spent his first few seasons in San Diego as the set up man to Heath Bell. When I asked Elsten about Adams and the possibility of Feliz being moved to the rotation he said, “Mike Adams should get the first crack at the closer’s job come spring training.”

For most Rangers’ fans that makes a lot of sense. In fact, it’s probably the way this team will lean when the players begin to report to their spring training home in Arizona in just a few short months. But if Adams becomes the new closer, who will be his set up man or could there possibly be a competition for the job between Adams and maybe a player signed in free agency?

While most of the talk has centered around possibly re-signing CJ Wilson or possibly looking at Mark Buehrle, the Rangers have also said they may look to bring in another relieve or perhaps a pair of relievers.

One name that became intriguing, if only because of what he had done with the Los Angeles Dodgers as their closer, is right hander Jonathan Broxton. Sure he’s coming off elbow surgery but if he’s 100 percent, and yes we said the same thing about Brandon Webb at the beginning of the 2011 season, Broxton could be a solid addition and a possible seventh or eighth inning guy.

But you’re still wondering who I’m referring to as far as a competition for the closer’s role. Have patience, we’ll get there.

When the trading deadline came around in July, this reliever’s name came up in connection with the Texas Rangers. Because what the New York Mets were looking for in return, as well as this pitcher’s demands, I wanted no part of making a deal to land him. Thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers who ended up making that deal, the Rangers and their fans could breathe a sigh of relief.

The reliever I speak of is former Los Angeles Angels star, and now current free agent right hander, Francisco Rodriguez. Or, better known as “K-Rod” during his days in Anaheim.

In 31 appearances after being dealt to the Brewers, Rodriguez was 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA and held opposing batters to a .209 batting average against.

Sure it’s in the National League and while it might not be the most hitter friendly park to play in, but those numbers are still impressive. It’s the reason I think general manager Jon Daniels could, and should, take a long look at bringing in Rodriguez. He won’t break the bank to get him, but Daniels knows Rodriguez would be a solid reliever for this organization.

He has the ability to not only come in as a closer, having done it for more than one team during his career, but he also has experience being the set up man as well. Roles the Rangers really could use from a reliever who hasn’t even turned 30 yet.

I know he isn’t a name most fans would jump up and down for, but if most of them are willing to entertain the idea of bringing in a reliever coming off elbow surgery (Broxton) than why wouldn’t they entertain bringing in a guy who has proven he can get the job done?

Let the debate begin.

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