Francisco Rodriguez is a good pitcher whom the Brewers should not sign

Rodriguez is a very good pitcher. He is not a good person and for that reason I do not want him on the team I root for.

Here's the news from over the last week: The Brewers -- particularly Mark Attanasio -- have been talking with Francisco Rodriguez's agent and there is heavy speculation that the team might re-sign him for at least the 2015 season.

If you know the Brewers, this probably isn't that surprising. They may have said this off-season that they weren't planning on bringing him back, but Rodriguez always finds his way back to Milwaukee. The Brewers first acquired him in a trade with the Mets mid-2011. They then re-signed him in December after he became a free agent to a one year deal. The next off-season, after nobody else wanted him, Milwaukee signed him to another one-year deal in April. They traded him to the Orioles in July, but for the third straight year he signed with the Brewers in the winter, this time waiting until February.

Now, it seems like a decent chance that Rodriguez, for the fourth straight time, signs with the Brewers. Given how well he performed in 2014 (3.04 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 44 saves), he might get a multi-year deal this time.

I don't want Rodriguez in Milwaukee, though. I don't want him back on the Brewers. He'd make the Brewers a better team on the field, but he'd make them a worse team to root for and that doesn't jibe with me.

Rodriguez has had multiple incidents off the field that make him someone I would rather not cheer on. In 2010, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend's father, allegedly because the father made a remark about Rodriguez's mother. He was charged with third degree assault and ordered not to contact his girlfriend or her father.

Instead, Rodriguez was charged with contempt of court due to him sending numerous text messages to the father.

Then, in 2012, in Wisconsin, Rodriguez received a domestic violence charge when he allegedly hit and kicked a woman who is the mother of his child. Those charges were dropped only because she and the only eyewitness left for Venezuela and did not respond to the district attorney. That's a really short snippet to describe a very serious event. Here's what is reported to have happened:

The criminal complaint said the woman and Rodriguez had been arguing before going to bed, and he became upset and struck her on the head.

She told police her nose began to bleed after getting hit due to a history of physical abuse. The woman told police she grabbed a sweatshirt and tried to stop the bleeding, but then Rodriguez grabbed her by the hair and threw her. Once on the floor, she said Rodriguez then began kicking her and injured her left upper shoulder blade, bruised her left upper thigh and injured her left hand near her wrist, the criminal complaint said.

After the beating, she said Rodriguez dragged her to his car, the complaint said

The NFL has been under fire the past year because of domestic violence charges. Primarily, there was the Ray Rice case which has received a huge amount of attention and has gotten the NFL in a bit of hot water with how much they may have known and the punishments doled out. Then there was the Adrian Peterson situation as well, resulting in the star running back missing nearly all of the season.

My reason for wanting the Brewers to stay away from Rodriguez isn't that I think he'll cause a PR problem for the team, though he probably would. My issue is that I can not bring myself to cheer for a person to make millions of dollars from my favorite team when I know that person is a horrible, horrible person. Assaulting defenseless people is a cowardly act from a shitty person.

My guess is that there will be some people who think my stance is a little hypocritical -- I'm usually among the first to come to the defense of Ryan Braun in terms of giving the guy a second chance. Here's where Braun stands in my book: He took steroids, played really well, got caught, served a punishment that was greater than a first-time suspension should have been and has come back.

Braun, unlike Rodriguez, served a punishment for his faults. More importantly, Braun didn't do something to directly bring harm to a defenseless person. There are a lot of baseball fans who say Braun threw Dino Laurenzi -- who collected his urine sample -- under the bus during his press conference after his original suspension was overturned. What Braun actually has said was that the process was done incorrectly, something an independent arbitrator clearly agreed with. Braun lied about using steroids, he didn't lie that the process was done wrong and could have screwed up the results.

I can cheer for Braun, though perhaps not as much as I used to. I can root for him to do good things on the field, because he didn't directly cause harm to another undeserving person. Since being caught and being punished, we've heard nothing wrong about Braun. Rodriguez has, on multiple occasions, caused physical harm to defenseless people.

Rodriguez didn't cheat in baseball, but in my opinion he did something far worse in directly harming the well-being of other people. Multiple times. I won't get behind him, and I'd rather have Rob Wooten or whoever take a role in the bullpen even if it means some drop-off in talent.

Some can root for someone on the field while forgetting what that person does off the field, but I can't. There are assholes all over sports. Rodriguez is a special kind, though, and I hope the Brewers refuse to bring him back to Milwaukee. If they do, I'm not cheering for him.

What we learned: January 29, 2015

Today's lessons include more on the Papelbon rumors, the bright side of a potential reunion with Rodriguez, and more.

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Crew releases Spring Training broadcast schedule

The Brewers unveiled a Spring Training broadcast schedule that covers all but one of their scheduled Cactus League games, including 13 games available exclusively via an MLB.com webcast.

Only 35 days until the next televised Brewers game!

Oh sweet Odin I'm so desperate for baseball...

We have seen our Brewers on television since the 2014 season ended on September 28th. That's...um...carry the 2...many days ago. But fear not sports fans, the next televised Brewers baseball game is only 35 days away! Okay, so Spring Training games aren't very exciting. In fact, they're often down right boring. But dadgummit if you're anything like me you'll take anything right now.

Today the Brewers released their Spring Training broadcast schedule and the first televised game is 2 pm CT on Thursday, March 5th against the Angels. Don't worry if you're working. The following two games, that Friday and Saturday also at 2 pm, will also be televised. The opponents on those days will be the Dodgers and the Rangers. So maybe we'll get to see Yovani Gallardo pitch one last time before the World Series!

It's kind of a shame the Brewers very first Spring Training game won't be televised. That's the game they face UW Milwaukee. It just seems like that would be kind of neat to see and have some special relevance in Milwaukee. But the broadcast is listed as NA, so perhaps things will change between now and then.

This spring the Brewers will be televising 12 games this year. In addition to the teams mentioned above, opponents for their televised games are: Reds, Cubs, Athletics, Padres, Giants, and the Indians.

If radio is your thing, then rejoice! All but one televised game will also be broadcast on the radio. In addition to that, there will be 5 games exclusively broadcast on radio.

You can also view certain games on Brewers.com if you have an MLB.tv account. That includes 11 games that are exclusively provided by the service. But really, who wants to get an MLB.tv account for one month just to watch Spring Training games...Oh yeah, I did that last year.

If you are really like, there's still time to change your life decisions! But otherwise, I suggest waiting to get a sub to watch those Spring Training games on Brewers.com. I'm pretty sure last year they had a super reasonable ST rate of $5 for the month. That seems worth it to me if you're going to have the time and desire.

Making lemonade out of the possible (inevitable?) Francisco Rodriguez signing

In what has become an annual occurrence, the Brewers are flirting with bringing Francisco Rodriguez back. As much as that will suck, it might be a defensible baseball decision.

With each passing day the Jonathan Papelbon trade appears less and less likely to come to fruition. (edit: Of course I wrote this last night and now the Papelbon trade appears more and more likely but whatever, this article still has merit) While it's not entirely dead yet, at this point it seems much more likely that they re-sign Francisco Rodriguez. Apparently K-Rod's agent, Scott Boras, has been trying to sell Brewers owner Mark Attanasio on the idea of yet another reunion. While I have significant moral reservations about signing Rodriguez, I thought I would take a look at what Brewers fans could be in store for from a performance perspective.

People like to talk about Francisco Rodriguez's 44 saves in 2014. One thing they don't talk about are the 14 home runs he allowed. That's the most by a reliever last year. Take a look at these numbers: 0.47, 0.50, 1.00, 1.35, 1.85. Those are K-Rod's HR/9 from 2010 to 2014. That's a clear trend and a disturbing one.

His HR/FB drastically increased in 2012, increasing from a 6.5% the year before to a 12.3%. That then increased to 15.2 % in 2013. It drastically increased again in 2014 to 23.3%.

The 14 home runs he allowed in 2014 is nearly double his previous high (if you ignore the 12 he gave up in 2003 which was very long ago and only his first full season in the majors) of 8 in 2012. So if you're looking for hope, it's there. Even if his HR/9 and HR/FB are trending in the wrong direction, it seems unlikely he would continue giving them up at such an outrageous rate.

If you're looking for more hope, you might find it in Francisco Rodriguez's walk rate. In 2009 his walk rate peaked at 12.9%. After that it only reached double digits once, in 2012. In fact, expect for 2012, his walk rate has decreased pretty steadily since. It reached it's lowest point in 2014 at 6.7%.

While Rodriguez's K% might not be as elite as it once was, it's remained strong every year. He's never posted a K% below league average. That mirrors his swinging strike rate. Once again, the only year he performed at a rate below average was in 2012 which is looking more and more like a statistical aberration.

Since 2010 K-Rod has posted better than average opponent batting averages every year. The only year he's had a WHIP higher than league average? Yep, 2012 again.

Even accounting for Rodriguez's HR/9 it seems likely he can put together another statistically solid season in 2015. So from that perspective it seems reasonable to add him to the Brewers bullpen. He's always been healthy too which would add some much needed stability. Still, considering his home run issues I'm going to be on the edge of my seat if he enters the game with less than a 3 run lead...


Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs

Jonthan Papelbon trade far from dead

The story leaked towards the end of last week. The Brewers were interested in acquiring former elite currently above average high leverage reliever Jonathan Papelbon and his potentially ridiculously enormous contract. I say potentially because he has a vesting option that isn't guaranteed. And that's where talks seems to break down.

It seemed like the trade talks were over, but a recent report from Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki indicates those trade talks are still open and ongoing. The seriousness of those discussions was not elaborated on. However a tweet from Brewers beat reporter Tom Haudricourt suggests the Brewers are more interested in acquiring Jonthan Papelbon than bringing back their former closer Francisco Rodriguez.

There are two main obstacles in getting this trade done. First is that pesky vesting option. If Papelbon finishes 48 games, a mark he's reached in every season of his career, then his 2016 option for $13 million becomes guaranteed. If he were to fall short of that mark, the option becomes void and he becomes a free agent. Enter the second obstacle.

Papelbon has partial trade protection which allows him to block trades to 17 clubs, one of which is the Milwaukee Brewers. He has said he's willing to waive that no-trade clause, but only if the Brewers guarantee his 2016 option. At this point, if the Brewers are still interested in acquiring Papelbon, then they must be willing to guarantee that option. But this is where the disagreements begin.

From the Phillies perspective, they currently aren't guaranteed to have to pay Papelbon any money at all in 2016. They do have a young reliever named Ken Giles who is very good. They could purposely not allow Papelbon to finish 48 games and give some save opportunities to Giles in order to accomplish this. In that way, they could control whether or not Papelbon's option vest.

From the Brewers perspective, that 2016 vesting option is the same thing as a guaranteed option. It will have to be guaranteed in order for this trade to go through. Therefore the Brewers are asking the Phillies to pay part of Papelbon's salary in 2016.

The Phillies are certainly willing to include money in trades. They've done so twice this winter with the Jimmy Rollins trade and the Marlon Byrd trade. The disagreement, and true obstacle, is how much money.

I imagine the Brewers starting point is half Papelbon's contract which would end up being $13 million over 2 years. The Phillies would understandably balk at that since it is possible they would only owe Papelbon a total of $13 million, albeit in one year.

If a trade is going to happen, and I'm right about where the Brewers are starting the discussion, the two sides are going to have to come to some compromise. Therefore whatever deal is struck, I'm guessing the Phillies pay some amount less than $13 million. That would likely leave the Brewers to pay a significant portion of his 2016 salary.

On the flip side, it's hard to say what the Brewers will have to send to the Phillies to get this done. According to Todd Zolecki the Phillies want "something of value" in return, but that's pretty vague. I can almost certainly guarantee you the Brewers will not give up Tyrone Taylor, Orlando Arcia, Clint Coulter, Devin Williams, or any of the players they drafted in 2014. However the likes of Taylor Jungmann or Ty Wagner seem fair game.

I think either of those pitchers would be fair value. Though it seems hard for the Brewers to give up Taylor Jungmann if only because they've depleted their rotation depth rather significantly after the trades of Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada. Jungmann currently sits 6th (or 7th if Tyler Thornburg enters the season healthy) on the depth chart. Typically you can expect a club to use as many as 8 or 9 starters in a normal season.

Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on February 20th. I expect regardless of what the Brewers do, we'll learn their decision before that date. That's still over three weeks away which is a long time to have a Papelbon trade rumor hanging over our heads. Hopefully they get this done or walk away sooner than that.

At 36, Lohse feeling on top of his game

Statistically, Kyle Lohse is in the prime of his career, with four of his best seasons in terms of ERA+ and fielding independent pitching in the past five years. But he is also 36 years old, which explains why Lohse is asked more and more these days about his post-playing career plans.

At 36, Lohse feeling on top of his game

Statistically, Kyle Lohse is in the prime of his career, with four of his best seasons in terms of ERA+ and fielding independent pitching in the past five years. But he is also 36 years old, which explains why Lohse is asked more and more these days about his post-playing career plans.

What we learned: January 27, 2015

Today's lessons include the yearly Opening Day ticket opportunity, reviews of Brewers On Deck, and more opinions about the decline of offense in MLB.

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What we learned: January 26, 2015

Today's lessons include several updates from the Brewers on Deck event.

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