During last night’s All-Star Game, the New York Mets traded closer Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez and cash to the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named later.
This trade was going to happen come hell or high water. K-Rod was in the last year of a three-year contract with the Mets. If Rodriguez finished 55 games this season, it would have automatically triggered an option for the 2012 season worth $17.5 million. Given all the financial trouble the Mets are in as a result of Bernie Madoff, the Mets were simply not in a position to keep K-Rod on the payroll. Frankly, re-signing Jose Reyes is a far bigger priority.
Does this mean the Mets have given up on the 2011 season? While the Mets have exceeded expectations this season, it would take a miracle for them to reach the playoffs. It is asking a lot for the Mets to overcome both the Braves and the Phillies. This deal could hurt them in the short term. Maybe Bobby Parnell won’t be ready to step into K-Rod’s shoes. But depending on who the Mets get in return it could pay dividends two, three or even four seasons down the road.
I suspect the Mets will come out ahead in this deal because I am not sure how K-Rod will take to being an eighth inning set up man. Yes, he did set up Troy Percival when he was with the Angels but K-Rod has been a closer since 2005. I can’t see the Brewers using K-Rod as a closer when they already have a viable closer in John Axford. Frankly, I don’t think the Brew Crew are prepared to add $17.5 million to their payroll next year either. K-Rod could be to the Brewers what Eric Gagne was to the Boston Red Sox in 2007. Then again Gagne’s lacklustre performance didn’t stop the Sox from winning the World Series that year.
As always, we shall see.