Francisco Rodriguez, Casey Janssen, Rafael Soriano highlight remaining free agent relievers; where will they land?
The offseason continues to dwindle, as pitchers and catchers will officially begin reporting in under a month. Clubs can still find some late January free agent additions, and among the remaining free agents are three known relievers: Francisco Rodriguez, Casey Janssen, and Rafael Soriano. It is time to take a look at all three and where they will land.
Francisco Rodriguez - Milwaukee Brewers
Rodriguez went 5-5 with a 3.04 ERA, 9.7 K/9 ratio, and a 2.4 BB/9 ratio in 68 innings last season, saving 44 games in 49 opportunities. Rodriguez finished the most games in the National League last season, as he was the pitcher on the mound at the end of 66 games last year. He was worth -0.6 fWAR last season. I could see Rodriguez getting a two-year, $20 million deal, but with Scott Boras as his agent, it could be hard to find a common ground between the club and Rodriguez.
The Brewers are currently prepared to go into the season with Jonathan Broxton as their closer, but he hasn't closed regularly since 2012, saving just seven games over the past two seasons. The Brewers were reportedly in "serious discussions" to acquire Jonathan Papelbon last week, but nothing materialized. Rodriguez and the Brewers have been in discussions and it looks as if he could be headed their soon.
Casey Janssen - Washington Nationals
Janssen has served as the Blue Jays' closer over the past three years, so he could be looking for another closer's job, which will not be open in Washington. He went 3-3 with a 3.94 ERA, 5.5 K/9 ratio, and a 1.4 BB/9 ratio in 45.2 innings pitched last season, saving 25 games in 30 opportunities. He missed 37 games last season with an injury and posted a 0.1 fWAR. He could get a one-year, $5 million deal with an option year, something the Nationals should definitely want and be willing to take on.
Ever since the Nationals dealt Tyler Clippard to the Athletics, relief pitching has been a need for them, especially backend relief pitching. The Nationals reportedly "checked in" on Janssen and he makes a lot of sense for them, as they likely do not want to spend the money on Rodriguez and have already dealt with the problems of Soriano, while also having a need for pitching.
Rafael Soriano - Los Angeles Dodgers
Soriano's season took a wrong turn last year with the Nationals, as he started the season solid, but ended up losing the closer's job to Drew Storen at the end of the year. At 35, Soriano can't be looking for a huge contract, so a one- or two-year contract seems likely, which could include a lot of performance bonuses. Last season, he went 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA, 8.6 K/9 ratio, and a 2.8 BB/9 ratio in 62 innings, saving 32 games in 39 opportunities. Soriano is another Boras client.
The Dodgers have the closer's spot locked down with Kenley Jansen, but the rest of their bullpen is still a question mark. Los Angeles' relief corps were among the worst in the league last year, as their 0.7 fWAR as a group ranked 26th in the Major Leagues. The Dodgers could use bounce-back year from Soriano. He seems like a guy Andrew Friedman and company in the front office would take a chance on.