- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
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The Milwaukee Brewers and Francisco Rodriguez have negotiated a new structure of the reliever's contractual clause, and the end result now is that the Brewers can use K-Rod in any role -- including closer -- without being locked into $17.5 million deal for the 2012 season.
As the Brewers acquired Rodriguez earlier this week, he was 21 games finished away from having his vesting option of $17.5 million for 2012 kick in.
The Brewers, already committed to pay at least $3.5 million in a possible buyout of that option, negotiated with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, a larger buyout of $4 million -- in return for a restructuring of the games-finished clause.
The vesting option for 55 games finished still in place -- but now it's a mutual option, which means both sides have to agree to it for it to be exercised, which is highly unlikely. At $17.5 million, K-Rod would have the highest salary for any reliever in history. Rodriguez (and Boras) could prefer to have the closer become a free agent after this year.
With the contract revision, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Friday's game at Colorado that he feels no limitations in how he can bring Rodriguez out of the bullpen.
"From my point of view and that of the staff, it will be nicer on us," he said. "These things, these contracts, most of the time a manager doesn't know about them so you don't have to worry about anything. But when it's so public and I knew exactly all the numbers, it's just not comfortable."
The Brewers also said that Rodriguez, who wore the No. 75 in his first game with Milwaukee on Thursday, had switched his jersey number Friday to 57, which he wore as a member of the Angels.
Buster Olney is a senior baseball writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.