Today In Brewer History: K-Rod Comes Back

Mike McGinnis

The Brewer offseason took a major unexpected turn one year ago today.

When the Brewers acquired Francisco Rodriguez during the 2011 season, it was widely believed that he wasn't going to be a Brewer very long. Rodriguez had a $17.5 million option for 2012, but the Mets dealt him to Milwaukee largely to get themselves out of a situation where it was likely to vest.

After the season, though, Rodriguez became a type A free agent (before the new CBA eliminated that classification) and the Brewers, believing K-Rod was seeking an opportunity to close and would sign elsewhere, offered him arbitration so as to get compensation draft picks when he found his new deal. One year ago today, though, the plan backfired when he accepted the Brewers' offer.

At the time it looked like this move would singlehandedly bust the Brewer budget. Rodriguez had made $13.5 in 2011 and it was believed he'd get something similar in 2012, on top of the $4 million the Brewers had already paid him to buy out his 2011 option.

The reality didn't turn out to be quite as bad. Rodriguez's new contract paid him $8 million for 2012, but it was still enough to have a significant negative impact on the budget. Mark Attanasio, to his tremendous credit, still opened his wallet for Aramis Ramirez and pushed the Brewer payroll over $100 million for the first time, but the resulting reported financial losses are likely part of the reason the Brewers have publicly stated wishes to bring spending down to around $80 million in 2013.

Rodriguez set a career high by pitching in 78 games in 2012, but also posted a career-worst 4.38 ERA. He's a free agent again this winter.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Today is also the 20th anniversary of Paul Molitor signing with the Blue Jays as a free agent, ending one of the greatest careers in franchise history. We covered that event in this space last year.

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