Rodriguez was released by the Nationals on Friday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. Rodriguez appeared in five games during his brief stint in the minors for the Nationals, allowing one earned run off four hits with three walks while striking out a pair over the course of five innings. The veteran didn't seem to be able to rein in his command, which has been the main detriment to his game this season. Washington seemingly decided that it wasn't worth it to keep K-Rod in the organization, especially with the chances of the 35-year-old making his way up to the major-league team so slim. Rodriguez could earn another look from a contender, but it's a stretch to think that he could be a viable fantasy play at any point during the rest of this season, especially if he couldn't break into the Nationals' tattered bullpen.
Rodriguez reported Tuesday to Double-A Harrisburg to begin his tenure with the Nationals organization, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. The expectation was that Rodriguez, who signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals last week, would head to the team's top affiliate at Triple-A Syracuse, but an assignment to Harrisburg may not have required as much roster tinkering. The level of competition isn't as important for Rodriguez at this stage of his career as demonstrating that he can still command his pitches effectively, an area where he struggled mightily earlier this season with the Tigers. Before being released in June, Rodriguez had surrendered nine home runs and walked 11 batters over 25.1 innings. He doesn't seem to have much left in the tank at this stage of his career and looks unlikely to stabilize the late innings for the Nationals should he receive a promotion to the big club down the line.
Rodriguez agreed to a minor-league contract with the Nationals on Monday, Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com reports. K-Rod struggled through the first half of the season, compiling a 7.82 ERA and 1.69 WHIP through 25.1 innings before being cut loose by the Tigers. The veteran closer was quickly scooped up by the Nationals, who currently own the fifth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball (4.88). The 35-year-old will likely need to get a few appearances under his belt in the minors before he joins the big club. It's still unclear what role Rodriguez will have out of the Nationals' bullpen, but if he's able to pitch well initially, he could quickly work himself into some high-leverage innings, given the struggles of Washington's bullpen this season.
Rodriguez was let go Friday, prior to the contest against the Padres. The Tigers decided to cut ties with the longtime closer following a season and a half of Rodriguez's services. Throughout the course of this season, the 35-year-old has posted a 7.82 ERA with a 23:11 K:BB over 25.1 innings of work. There is a chance that Rodriguez latches on with a contender looking for a spark in their bullpen, especially since he provided solid numbers during the 2016 campaign with Detroit.
Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning in Tuesday's loss to the Angels without allowing a hit or a walk. The outing was nice, but it was also the first time K-Rod appeared in more than a week. He also had eight days between his last outing and the one before that. Manager Brad Ausmus previously said Rodriguez was regaining some of his trust, but it also doesn't look like the manager is in much of a rush to use the veteran reliever these days. Justin Wilson should have a fairly firm hold on the closer role, so Rodriguez doesn't appear like a fantasy option at this point.
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