Why Trade Francisco? Why Not!

An article by posted on July 13, 2011

I’m very happy this move happened last night. Here’s a few reasons why, 

#1) K-Rod hired Scott Boras just a few days ago, and upon that hiring Boras began to send subtle threats to the Mets and Alderson that he controls where he goes and not Alderson. 

#2) If you choose to buy into the fact that a man at KRod’s age can suddenly change his demeanor and personality simply with a few months of therapy than god bless ya. I personally think it takes longer than that. This is still the guy who cared so little about his time with the Mets that he punched his girlfriend’s father in the Mets clubhouse which THEN lead to a season ending injury. 

#3) The longer they waited, the less time his new team had to avoid the vested option. He has to finish 21 games. If he went until July 31st with the Mets, that number would be down approaching 10 games. Thus, his stock drops even lower from where it was last night. 

#4) Regardless of the hopes and dreams any of us have that the Mets can catch the Atlanta Braves in 2011, paying Francisco Rodriguez almost $18million next year is not good for the franchise. Mariano Rivera does more for his franchise by a mile than K-Rod does for the Mets, and Rivera makes $15million. 

If you look at the collection of baseball’s top closers in baseball you have players like: Mariano, Bell, Papelbon, Kimbrel, Hanrahan (in no order and just to name a few).

None of those pitchers make as much as KRod.

His job is to get 3 outs. He was over priced for his job and performance. There’s no denying that. KRod was signed because the Mets believes 2009 or 2010 was their year and all they needed was a closer. 

That didn’t happen, so time to move on. 

#5) Getting a save doesn’t mean you’re effective. If I do the job my boss hands me but along the way I make a few mistakes, but those mistakes don’t cost me the end result… did I do a good job? No. I got lucky. Did you know of the Top 20 MLB pitchers in Saves right now, only Brian Wilson has more Walks+Hits with 61?

Rodriguez has 60. Say what you want about WHIP. But a 1.40+ WHIP as a Closer is not good. No matter what your ERA is. Your job as a closer is to get 3 outs, and to get them without putting the game in jeopardy. Not to “make things interesting.” 

Did you know that Rodriguez appeared in 53 games last year and allowed 66 Hits+Walks? Read that again before you try and tell me he was having a good year. This year, he’s appeared in 42 games and allowed 60 Walks+Hits.

Okay, so when Adam Rubin of ESPN New York says at the end of his column 

“What were scouts saying about K-Rod? — Honestly, not overly impressed. Yes, he most of the time managed to get the job done. But declining fastball velocity made him more reliant on a changeup. He was far from an elite closer anymore.” 

So before you assume that this has anything to do with Moneyball, Sabermetrics, Bernie Madoff or Fred Wilpon. Try and think about it in terms of what is best for the organization.

Francisco Rodriguez is not the pitcher he used to be, and his $17.5 million contract next year could not only hinder the Mets from offering Reyes a fair contract, but also stops them from attempting to develop a younger closer like Pedro Beato. 

For Rodriguez’s contract the Mets could have Pelfrey+Niese+Dickey+Gee+Capuano+Ike+Paulino+Murph+Pagan and STILL have $3m or so left over!

Think about that. A guy who has the role to get 3 outs in a game is making almost double what Pelfrey+Niese+Gee+Dickey+Capuano make combined!

#6) Of the 26 closers in the sport right now with 15 or more saves only 6 of them were acquired via free agency later in their career. Think about what that says for Major League Baseball.

That means that the majority of teams with successful closers are either developing them within their own system, or trading for these closers at a younger age like Colorado did with Huston Street or San Diego did with Heath Bell (who’s career got started later in life.)

Those closers for your reference are Jose Valverde, Francisco Cordero, J.J. Putz, Kyle Farnsworth, Kevin Gregg and of course Francisco Rodriguez.

Teams generally are not looking to free agency to fill their closer role in today’s MLB. 

I’m not sure if Beato is the guy, I still believe one day Mejia will be in that role one day. However, trading an aging closer who is making too much money and who’s talent is diminishing is not a Moneyball move for those who likely never read the book. It’s a smart baseball move.

The 2011 Mets have overcome the loss of Davis, Wright and Johan. All of which were more devastating to the season than losing Rodriguez is. Just because Rodriguez is gone, doesn’t mean they are giving up on 2011. It’s up to Terry Collins to ensure that. 

What it does mean is we are seeing the Mets shed themselves of some poor baseball decisions and offsetting them with better ones.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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