I know today was still Ryan Braun-o-rama, but you and I are done with that, remember? If you do not recall when that was announced, feel free to refresh your memory here. Now, other RtB writers are free to touch on the subject, but we are done with that, we are back to baseball and the 2012 season.
Today, the man who has been a thorn in my side since he accepted arbitration this winter, Francisco Rodriguez, spoke to reporters about the upcoming season. Needless to say, he caught me a little off guard. Okay, fine, I almost shot lemon flavored Propel water out of my nose when I read his quotes. Never judge a
diva crybaby superstar, by his cover.
Last year, Mr. K-Rod (Can I call you Mr. K-Rod?) took every opportunity to voice his displeasure for being a set-up man. It seemed like almost every single day, until the postseason, he was unhappy about his role with the Brewers. That lead to me being furious that he accepted the Brewers arbitration offer at the last possible second. His decision lead to other key bullpen pieces signing elsewhere. Takashi Saito signed with the D’Backs and LaTroy Hawkins signed with the Los Angeles Albert Pujols‘ of Anaheim within hours of the news that K-Rod was coming back to Suds City. Personally, I never thought in a million years that he would be back in a Brewers uniform. Turns out, he really liked his time in Milwaukee last season.
On Friday morning he was asked, “Are you surprised to be back in Milwaukee?” This was his response:
No. A lot of people were shocked and surprised, but for me, no. I had a really great experience last year in Milwaukee. The organization opened its arms to me for three and a half months and made me feel so special. The fans, the way they treated my family. I liked the city. That was something that I was looking for, so my decision was a lot easier when I had to make it. This year, the mentality, the preparation is going to come as a setup [man], and hopefully in the future, I’ll get the opportunity to close again.
I beg your pardon? What have you done with the K-Rod I know and dislike?
Could it be, that sometimes it is not just about the money? Well, it was still about the money, because word on the street was that he could not find anything better than what he would get by coming back to Milwaukee. But, the fact that he is preparing for the set-up role is beyong shocking…I am perplexed by this turn of events. Maybe he saw the opportunity to go back to the postseason, along with a pretty decent paycheck, and Mmmbop he’s back!
I am going to remove my personal hang-ups with this guy for a second, and just look at the baseball side of this situation. Pairing K-Rod with Axford, creates the most potent 1-2 punch to close out a game in the majors. If things go well, it could go down as the greatest late inning duo in the history of the game. K-Rod is still the record holder for most saves in a single season and Axford has emerged as one of the best lock down closers in baseball. If our starting rotation can get a lead through 7 innings…these two are going to log a lot of work this season. If you think that the K-Rod/Ax-man combo is not going to scare the piss out of the NL Central…you are mistaken.
It is hard for me to say this, but the 2012 Brewers are a pitching team. There is no reason that on 3 out of 4 nights, our starting staff should be able to hand K-Rod the ball with the lead. They are good enough and should be even more confident then they were last season. Therefore, I assume that Axford will finish the season with 60 saves and K-Rod will get a few just out of necessity. You can’t have a closer throwing every single day, can you? Regardless of how the rest of the bullpen plays out, this rotation has the potential to render them nothing more than paper weights with K and Ax.
If K-Rod is ready to play ball, accept his role, and be a positive aspect of the bullpen…then I am ready to put aside my issues with the guy and embrace him with open arms. I want to win and I am fully aware that having this cat on the roster will be a huge boost in the W department. Just wish that we did not have to pay him so much money. Thanks Scott Boras. Actually, this may work out in our favor…so while I meant that last “thanks” sarcastically, thank you for convincing K-Rod to come back. It could end up being the key piece of our World Series puzzle.
He is one of the many pitchers who will likely be gone at the end of the season, so I am thrilled that he is happy to be here. We need to enjoy the crap out of this season. If we do that, hopefully we can see him off with a World Series ring on his finger (along with the other 80% of the pitching staff). Then, no matter where he goes to close games, he would always be a Brewer in my book.
Let’s make it work Franky!