DENVER -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke no longer has to worry about restricting the workload for newly acquired reliever Francisco Rodriguez. The former Mets closer joined the Brewers on Tuesday with a clause in his contract that would net him a sole vesting option of $17.5 million in 2012 should he finish 21 more games this season. But the Brewers, Rodriguez and new agent Scott Boras renegotiated that deal on Friday, making the option a mutual one, meaning both sides would have to agree for it to be exercised.
The $500,000 that Rodriguez was set to receive in performance-based incentives is now guaranteed, and he remains on track to receive a $3.5 million buyout under the agreement between the two parties, according to an industry source. In short, the revised agreement means that Rodriguez can become a free agent at the end of the season, and the club does not have to worry about triggering a vested option for next season by using him regularly in save situations in the second half of the season. "Whether he finishes 20 games, 30 games, 40 games, it's really no longer a factor," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "It's one of those typical win-wins, hopefully." Rodriguez said he was pleased with the restructuring of his contract, and added that he believes it will limit distractions going forward this season. "I said at the beginning of the year, it's not about the money," Rodriguez said. "It's about being comfortable and being able to embrace my role. Now it will be a lot easier for the manager and the front office to not think about [how many] games I'm finishing." Rodriguez said he had been aiming to renegotiate the clause in his contract even before being traded to the Brewers on Tuesday. "It makes it a lot easier for both sides," Rodriguez said. "It eliminates that distraction." Roenicke said the restructuring of Rodriguez's contract will relieve the burden that could have come with having to potentially restrict the reliever's workload. "These contracts, most of the time a manager doesn't know about them, so you don't have to worry about them" Roenicke said. "But when it's so publicized, and I knew exactly all the numbers, it's not comfortable when you know what's going on with it." Roenicke said the new development doesn't change the fact that he must still find the best way to use both Rodriguez and John Axford to close games, but he is confident that the Brewers will find an effective formula with the duo. "Things seem to work out OK, and I'm hoping that's the case," Roenicke said.
Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.