It’s been an eventful couple days for Brewers set-up man Francisco Rodriguez.
First, Rodriguez made minor headlines on Saturday when it was reported that he would be late to report to spring training. Pitchers and catchers were supposed to report by Saturday, but K-Rod won’t be joining the team until the middle of this week. It appears to be a family matter keeping him from camp, and the team doesn’t seem too worried about the situation.
The story that will probably get more headlines, though, is the one that came out Sunday night: according to USA Today, Rodriguez is considering filing a malpractice or fraud lawsuit against former agents Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem.
Here’s the gist of the situation: Rodriguez’s lawyer, Richard Johnson, says the reliever is (still) irate that Kinzer and Tellem failed to file the proper paperwork needed to validate Rodriguez’s 10-team no-trade list. The Brewers were among the 10 teams K-Rod listed, but since the paperwork was never filed, the Mets were able to trade him to Milwaukee last July. Once he realized the no-trade list was not valid, K-Rod fired Kinzer and Tellem. Rodriguez claims that the two did irreparable harm to his career and potential earnings. The attorney for those two disputes the claim that the legal tussle is over the no-trade provision, saying it’s instead a fee-related matter.
Rodriguez is assuring everyone that he isn’t mad at the Brewers for the situation, but it remains pretty clear that he wasn’t happy with the way things went down. Apparently, though, he wasn’t unhappy enough to turn down the Brewers’ offer of arbitration when he couldn’t find a decent multiyear offer to close on the free agent market. If you forgot, he’ll be making $8 million this year after he settled to avoid what could have been an ugly arbitration hearing.
While everyone remains focused on the Ryan Braun saga, the other big potential distraction looming over the team is Rodriguez and his happiness (or lack thereof) in a set-up role. If the Brewers fall out of contention by the trade deadline, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see a trade to a contender in need of a “proven closer.”