Updated at 12:50 a.m., July 13, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — Former All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez was traded from the New York Mets to Milwaukee on Tuesday night, boosting the Brewers’ bullpen for a second-half run at the playoffs.
The Mets sent Rodriguez and cash to Milwaukee for two players to be named. The trade was announced right after the All-Star game ended, yet another sign the Brewers are going all in this season.
Milwaukee is tied with St. Louis for the NL Central lead, and John Axford has done well as its closer. But the Brewers have had trouble finding steady setup men.
“Francisco has been one of the best relievers in the game for many years,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. “He is a high-quality arm who will be a tremendous asset to our bullpen as we prepare for the final months of the regular season and playoffs.”
The Brewers traded for top starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the offseason. They’ve made the playoffs just once since winning the American League pennant in 1982, and are faced with the prospect of watching star slugger Prince Fielder leave via free agency after the season.
Fielder was the MVP of the All-Star game, hitting a three-run homer in the National League’s 5-1 victory.
“That is a really big trade. He can really help us, he is a great player. It definitely gives us a spark. We are in first place now and getting him gives us a little more help,” Fielder said.
“He is going to bring the success he has had in his career, his confidence. He is going to keep doing what he is doing. You can’t go wrong when you get that kind of talent. You can never have too many guys. No discredit to Axford at all, but to get him, too, is great,” he said.
The 29-year-old Rodriguez is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 23 saves, a year after a fracas with a family member at Citi Field led to his arrest, an injury and the early end of his season. He is a four-time All-Star and set the single-season saves record with 62 in 2008 with the Angels.
Rodriguez has a contract clause that guarantees him $17.5 million in 2012 if he finishes 55 games this year. K-Rod has currently finished 34, though he may not get ample chances to do that with the Brewers.
“As a player, you appreciate it because you are going out there every day. When management does a move like … they are trying their best to help as much as they can,” Fielder said.
“If we got a shot we know (Melvin) is going to do something to get that extra push. If we play hard and we have a shot, he is going to do everything he can,” he said. “It is a great night.”
New York is 46-45 in the NL East and 11 games behind Philadelphia and 7 1/2 behind Atlanta in the wild-card race. This was the first major trade for general manager Sandy Alderson since taking over the Mets in the offseason and there could be more after the break, with high-priced All-Stars Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes heading toward free agency following the season.
“We thank Frankie for his contributions to the Mets and wish him well with the Brewers,” Alderson said. “This trade allows us to develop and more fully utilize other members of our 2011 bullpen and offers some payroll relief as well.”
Rodriguez is in his 10th major league season. He is 32-27 with 291 saves and a 2.54 ERA with the Angels and Mets.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)