Sometimes the New York media can be too brash, overbearing and relentless in their criticism of the Mets players and management. But, every now and then they can be very useful in how they can put pressure on a team to react to the demands of the fan base.
It looks like this offseason, the local sports writers will be driving home the point of why the Mets have to get Angels closer Frankie Rodriguez to CitiField in 2009.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday, highlights some of the higher profile players who are pending free-agents that may interest the Mets this off season. Of course you have Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Orlando Hudson, and Raul Ibanez to mention a few, but it was interesting what he had to say about K-Rod.
“I’d be shocked if come December the Mets aren’t opening the doors to Citi Field for a news conference unveiling K-Rod as their new closer. Just seems too much of a given.”
Jon Heyman of SI.com, hasn’t really bought into the whole K-Rod to the Mets platform, but it looks like his stance has been softening of late.
“The Mets seem reluctant to get involved in the Francisco Rodriguez Sweepstakes since they’ve already committed $11 million to the injured Wagner. However, they may have to re-evaluate that stance. K-Rod would cost them $15 million a year probably for five years, a gamble for a “maximum effort guy” who’s lost a few miles off his fastball. But the Mets really can’t afford to sit out those sweepstakes now.”
I think the pressure for Omar Minaya to get K-Rod in a Mets uniform is quickly gaining momentum. Even in his recent comments he has acknowledged that it’s a situation that bears a long hard look despite the high price tag.
I don’t really think Omar has a choice at this point. With the huge windfall of cash from the new stadium, leaving K-Rod on the table in lieu of a much lesser alternative may lead to a fan uprising at CitiField. A lesser pitcher will also face an enormous amount of pressure to perform at a high level almost immediately. One early blown save could lead to a culmination of boos that may signal the begining of the end. If you thought Mets fans were quick to voice their displeasure last season, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The Mets will need more than just K-Rod to revamp the bullpen, but it would indicate that the Mets are dead serious about putting together a winning ballclub for their maiden season at CitiField. Other relievers will still be needed to bridge the gap between the starting pitching and the ninth inning, but with Rodriguez in the fold the rest of the roles become much easier to fill.