K-Rod…Welcome…Back?

An article by posted on October 18, 2010

Years ago, Julio Lugo hit his wife in his own home, and was promptly released by the Houston Astros. At the time, he was a major prospect with MLB playing time and a promising future. Fast forward to the 2010 Mets and you have an established closer publicly (essentially) assaulting a man nearly twice his age, stirring up rumors and hidden claims of domestic violence to his girlfriend, and to boot tearing muscles in his thumb.

Welcome to your 2011 closer, Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez.

With the Mets avoiding the grievance and going for some kind of settlement that allows them to reclaim some of the money that was lost during his injury/suspension, they are essentially giving K-Rod a get out of free card and his same salary. A few things come to mind though….

Public Relations Backlash: Francisco Rodriguez accepted a plea for lesser charges, but nothing has changed that he assaulted his father in law, his girlfriend came forward and mentioned claims of silenced abuse in Venezuela and those damaging text messages that were initially painting K-Rod as a caring, loving partner but when fully exposed showed him as a controlling person trying to guilt and threaten a decision. With the already down ticket sales, can the 2011 Mets afford to trot out someone who isn’t of the best moral character?

Contract Issue: When he returns, he just needs 55 appearances next year to make that albatross $17.5 million option vest, in addition to the $11.5 million cap hit next year. The market for closers isn’t extremely deep, and in the event the Mets tried to trade K-Rod, he would have to be in good…

Health: Because of the tear in his throwing hand of the thumb muscle, there is no telling when/how effective K-Rod will be. His velocity has steadily been declining, and that is no secret. If K-Rod isn’t healthy or his pitches can’t regain the same life or effectiveness he will be a…

Burden: To the new general manager. As with the goal of ownership, the new general manager will be expect to bring in a new sense of hope, and the quickest way to do that is to cut the fat in the clubhouse, whether they be bad people, bad teammates or bad contracts. But hey, for all that money, we can only hope for…

Performance: About the only positive thing to say this year is K-Rod didn’t get to reach his usual range of innings, thus sparing some of that effort that has been draining his shoulder. From July 23rd to August 14th, he allowed two hits and two walks in ten and two-third innings. But this is all just…

In Limbo: No General Manager, no Manager, limited direction. What I Think…

K-Rod isn’t the most dominating closer anymore, and this situation has grossly complicated an issue that was already a point of concern for the 2012 Mets. If their is any chance to make a concerted effort to compete in 2011, an established closer would be great. Hisanori Takahashi was amazing, but he is still a soft-tossing lefty on the wrong side of 35. When in good health and on his game, K-Rod is still lights out and fits well in Citi Field’s spacious confines. Its very difficult to welcome a player back who physically assaulted the father of his girlfriend, teammates, family and friends including children, then having the whole affair blown up publicly. If it were cut-and-dry, I’d renegotiate a contract, and convert the 2012 option to a guaranteed year or a team-option. with a lesser amount then the $17.5 million, because barring injury K-Rod will appear in 55 games. In the event he does, would it be wise to have a closer occupying 1/7th or so of the payroll?

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