Nationals fans may once again be able to see Henry Rodriguez and his triple-digit fastball on the mound at Nationals Park, only this time he will be wearing a different uniform. The 26-year-old reliever signed a Minor League deal with the Miami Marlins on Thursday, the team announced via their website. The deal contains an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
The Nationals originally acquired Rodriguez, along with outfielder Corey Brown, in a trade with the Oakland Athletics in 2010. Rodriguez boasts a fastball that regularly hits triple-digits, along with a changeup that former manager Jim Riggleman once compared to Stephen Strasburg‘s. Rodriguez’s stuff was so good that some believed he would be the Nationals’ closer of the future… until he forgot how to throw strikes.
In his short stint as the team’s closer while Drew Storen was on the disabled list in 2012, Rodriguez struggled mightily with his control, hitting the backstop on a regular basis. Rodriguez appeared in 17 games in 2013 before being designated for assignment, and ultimately traded to the Cubs in June. Rodriguez’s best season with the Nationals came in 2011, when he struck out 70 batters in 62.2 innings pitched.
The Marlins are holding out hope that Rodriguez will once again find the strike zone and become the unhittable flame thrower he once was. Until then, Nationals fans can pass on the one lesson they learned during Rodriguez’s time in DC: a 104 mph fastball out of the strike zone… is still a ball.