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Phillies sign Francisco Rodriguez to Minor League deal

The veteran reliever is looking to pitch in the majors for a 17th-consecutive season

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies signed reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal Saturday afternoon, according to FanRag's Jon Heyman:

Rodriguez's deal comes with an invitation to big league camp this spring, where the veteran will be battling for another shot at the majors. The once-dominant closer has spent the last 16 seasons in a big league uniform.

Rodriguez, 36, struggled mightily as a member of the Tigers' bullpen in 2017. In 25.1 innings, Rodriguez was lit up for 22 earned runs with an awful 1.658 WHIP and 3.9 BB/9—it's pretty much impossible to have big league success with those last two numbers. Detroit released Rodriguez in late June after denying Rodriguez's request to pitch in high-leverage situations.

The Phillies certainly have room for Rodriguez on their Opening Day roster should the veteran prove he's still got it. Here's how the bullpen currently shakes out, according to Roster Resource:

CL Hector Neris

SU Tommy Hunter

SU Pat Neshek

MR Luis Garcia

MR Adam Morgan

MR Edubray Ramos

MR Victor Arano

LR Mark Leiter

While Neris, Hunter, and Neshek project to get the bulk of high-leverage opportunities, sitting behind them is a widely inexperienced and unproven group of arms. Ramos, Arano, and Leiter combine for less than two years of big league service time, and still have multiple minor league options available. Rodriguez could serve as a veteran presence for a ball club on the cusp of competing in a tough NL East.

Over his decorated 16-year career, Rodriguez has led the league in saves three times, posting a career 2.86 ERA. The right-hander is a six-time All-Star, representing the American League in 2004 and 2007-2009, and the National League in 2014-2015.