Francisco Rodriguez unhappy with role as setup man with Brewers: Fan reaction

Milwaukee Brewers right hander Francisco Rodriguez, who was acquired in July from the New York Mets primarily to be the setup man for closer John Axford(notes), has expressed his unhappiness with that role. Rodriguez told some members of the media that the Brewers had told him he would have some save opportunities in addition to being the eighth inning setup man, but he has not had a chance to pitch in a save situation since he joined the club. He said he was not happy with that.

Well, that's just wonderful. The Brewers are in first place in the National League Central trying to hold off the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals with two weeks left in the season, and K-Rod decides to tell the media he doesn't like his role with the club. I suppose the timing could have been worse; he could have announced this during the playoffs or World Series. Rodriguez did say after the fact that he should be discussing the issue with manager Ron Roenicke in his office, and not with the media.

Yes, that would be the proper venue. While I thought Rodriguez would have at least a couple of save chances by now, the bottom line is that Axford has been incredible this year and there just hasn't been a need for someone else to close games in the second half of the season. Being a setup man is something new for Rodriguez, and he has done very well. The eighth inning had been a problem before he arrived; the previous setup man, Kameron Loe(notes), was out of his element. Loe now is thriving in the sixth and seventh innings.

Perhaps K-Rod needs to have that meeting with Roenicke. He may just need a little hand holding and assurance that he has helped the club a lot in his current role. Roenicke could mention that he and the Brewers will most likely be playing in the post season, while the Mets will be staying home in October. Rodriguez has a $17. 5 million contract with a mutual option for 2012 and Milwaukee is likely to decline the expensive pact, making K-Rod a free agent. If he's worried he won't get top tier closer money as a free agent due to being a setup man for half a season, those fears are way overblown. Everyone knows his record and reputation as a closer. He'll get his money.

Fortunately, Rodriguez continues to pitch well despite his displeasure with his current role. He's a competitor, and I'm sure he'll do everything he can to get the Brewers into the post season and to the World Series. However, this certainly isn't the kind of thing I want to hear at this critical point in the season.

Mark Hudziak has been a fan of the Brewers since they moved to Milwaukee in 1970.

Sources:

K-Rod doesn't back off comments

K-Rod not happy, wants some saves chances

K-Rod now unhappy with role on Brewers

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Updated Thursday, Sep 15, 2011