Two top closers have been traded within the span of a week. The Red Sox acquired Craig Kimbrel on November 13, and now the Tigers have traded for Francisco Rodriguez. According to Jon Heyman of CBS, the Tigers will be on the hook for all of Rodriguez's remaining salary—$5.5 million in 2016 and $6 million in 2017, with the option of a $4 million buyout next season. The Brewers will receive 20-year-old second baseman Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later in exchange for Rodriguez.
The move represents a change of direction for the Tigers. The team stumbled to a 74-87 record last year, dealing Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, and Joakim Soria in a trading spree at the trade deadline. Having re-signed manager Brad Ausmus to a one-year extension, the Tigers will hope to compete this season with a healthy roster. Contrastingly, now headed by general manager David Stearns, the Brewers traded Rodriguez as part of a continued rebuilding effort. Milwaukee finished with a 68-94 record last season and don't figure to contend in the NL Central in 2016.
Rodriguez served as the Mets' closer in 2009 and 2010 before being dealt to the Brewers in 2011. While his tenure with the Mets will be remembered for off-field issues, the closer enjoyed a dominant 2010 campaign—he had a 2.20 ERA while striking out 10.5 batters per nine innings. A return to form in 2015 spiked Rodriguez's trade value, landing him in Detroit, his fifth big league organization.