The 23-year-old Rodriguez is a power arm who should slide immediately into the bullpen mix, giving the Nats another hard-throwing option to prevent them from overusing Tyler Clippard. Rodriguez’s fastball last year averaged 98.45 mph, the fourth-best velocity in the majors. He touched 103.2 on the radar in 2010.
Rodriguez’s numbers with Oakland -1-0 with 4.26 ERA in 32 relief appearances over the past two seasons - might not be eye-catching, but his strikeout totals are: 37 in 31 2/3 innings in the majors and 425 in 329 1/3 innings in the minors. He’ll have to cut down on his walks (240 in the minors, 32 in the majors) in order to be effective. The 6-foot, 220-lb. Rodriguez is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he has five saves and a 1.77 ERA in 17 relief outings
There’s no question Clippard wore down as 2010 dragged on, and general manager Mike Rizzo made adding some bullpen help an offseason priority. Rodriguez does have some experience closing - 11 of his 18 career saves came last season at Triple-A Sacramento, where he was 0-2 with a 1.69 ERA in 20 games - so it’s conceivable that he could be in the mix for saves.
Rodriguez could be the second player named Henry Rodriguez to play for the franchise. Outfielder Henry Rodriguez spent four of his 11 major league seasons with the Montreal Expos, and was selected as an All-Star in 1996, when he hit 26 homers and drove in 103 runs, both career highs. He played for the Expos from 1995-97 and in 2002.
Brown, 6-foot-1 and 205 lbs., was a first-round pick in the 2007 draft, the 59th overall selection in the sandwich round (compensation for the A’s losing Frank Thomas), and provides Washington with some organizational outfield depth. He split 2010 between Double-A Midland and Sacramento, batting .283 with 15 homers, 69 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. Brown is primarily a center fielder, though he can play all three outfield positions. He sizzled in the 2009 Arizona Fall League, hitting .333 with six homers and leading the league with 28 RBIs.
In four minor league seasons, he’s a .272 hitter with 83 doubles, 21 triples, 65 homers, 243 RBIs and 48 stolen bases in 390 games.