The Detroit Tigers have picked up their $6 million contract option on pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, the team announced Thursday.

Rodriguez saved 44 games last year while posting a 3.24 ERA in his first season with the Tigers, who acquired him in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers in November 2015.

Although he had five blown saves and his strikeout rate reached a career low at 8.0 per nine innings, the closer found a way to help the team late in games throughout the 2016 campaign.

“We liked the job K-Rod did last season and the numbers show he was a reliable closer for us,” general manager Al Avila said, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. “He stabilizes the back end of our bullpen and provides veteran leadership to our younger bullpen arms.”

Rodriguez is MLB‘s active leader with 430 saves in his career, good for fourth on the all-time list behind only Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith. He has been selected to six All-Star Games and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting three times.

While he has lost some life on his fastball, Rodriguez remains one of the most consistent relievers in baseball. He is set to retain his role as the Tigers closer, with Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson remaining key cogs at the back end of the bullpen.

The 34-year-old had a $2 million buyout if the team had declined the option on the final year of his contract.


Salary information via

Read more MLB news on