Go back five years in your mind. Name a few of the best closing pitchers in baseball… Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, Trevor Hoffman, and Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s star has faded a bit since the 2008 season where he set a single-season record with 62 saves for the division-leading Angels. He has not been the same dominant pitcher in recent years, but this season Rodriguez is getting back to ridiculous levels of the late 2000’s.
In 25 appearances for the Brewers this year, Rodriguez has thrown 24.2 innings and has a 26:9 K:BB ratio to go with a microscopic 1.09 ERA. His velocity and strikeout rates are down from his career rates, but he is learning how to pitch and get by without his trademark insane stuff. With the Brewers struggling this season, Rodriguez is almost certainly available and the Red Sox and Tigers are his biggest suitors according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Rodriguez may be the best rental reliever on the market this year, and could command a somewhat hefty price tag in prospects. The Red Sox could get away without trading one of the big three hitting prospects (Bogaerts, Bradley, Cecchini), but they would probably have to trade one or two top ten prospects in the system. The Red Sox definitely need a key reliever, but if the price tag is too high for a rental reliever, as good as Rodriguez is, they should walk away.