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Nationals sign Francisco Rodriguez to minor-league deal

The reliever will likely head to the nation’s capital after being released by the Tigers over the weekend.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals have reached a minor-league deal with reliever Francisco Rodriguez, as first reported by FanRag’s Jon Heyman and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.

Washington’s bullpen struggles have caused general manager Mike Rizzo to search for relief help for weeks, so the pending addition of K-Rod comes as no surprise. Rodriguez was released over the weekend by the Tigers after opening his season with a 7.82 ERA and 1.658 WHIP in 25.1 innings.

Though Rodriguez has had his share of struggles this season, the hope for the Nats will be that a change of scenery will lead to him being a dependable veteran arm at the back end of a contender’s bullpen. Rodriguez has posted an ERA under 3.25 in each of the last four seasons, so there is some reason to believe the 35-year old could get things back on track with the Nats.

Rodriguez is in the final year of a three-year, $17 million deal with the Tigers and is earning $6 million this season. Detroit will pick up the tab on the rest of that, with Washington paying only a prorated portion of the major-league minimum.

Rodriguez owns a career 2.86 ERA and 437 saves in 16 major-league seasons with the Angels, Mets, Brewers, Orioles and Tigers. He may have a chance to be the closer in Washington, where Matt Albers, Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen have each had chances to close so far this year.