Henry Rodriguez's tenure with the Nationals organization officially came to an end late Tuesday night when the the club dealt the erratic reliever to the Cubs for a 22-year-old right-hander with a 6.06 ERA in two seasons at Class A.
The Nationals announced they had traded Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment last week, to Chicago for Ian Dickson, a 31st-round pick in the 2011 draft who has struggled in two professional seasons. In 11 appearances (three starts) this year with high-Class A Kane County, Dickson owned a 6.88 ERA while putting 56 men on base in 35 1/3 innings.
That, more than anything, revealed how low Rodriguez's stock had fallen. Acquired from the Athletics with outfielder Corey Brown in the 2010 deal that sent slugger Josh Willingham to Oakland, Rodriguez was once thought of as a potential big-league closer.
The right-hander did save nine games for the Nationals early last season after Drew Storen and Brad Lidge suffered injuries, but he never found any semblance of consistency during his 2 1/2 years with the organization. He departed with a 4.23 ERA, 112 strikeouts, 83 walks and 26 wild pitches in 113 innings for Washington.
Because he was already out of options when the Nationals first acquired him, Rodriguez could not be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers. That process began last week when he was designated for assignment, removing him from the organization's 40-man roster. The Cubs apparently put in a claim for Rodriguez, at which point the Nationals worked out the trade for Dickson.