While visiting Mets camp today, MLBPA Union Chief Michael Weiner addressed the 2012 vesting option the Mets have on K-Rod’s contract.
K-Rod’s option vests at $17.5 million for 2012 if he finishes 55 games this season. Otherwise, he receives a $3.5 million buyout and becomes a free agent.
“We monitor every situation for compliance with the Basic Agreement,” Weiner said. “But I have every expectation that the Mets are going to honor both the Basic Agreement and Frankie’s contracts.”
As far as how much latitude a team has in not using a player when a vesting option is nearing, Weiner said:
“There’s arbitration precedent that deals with that, that essentially says that the club’s decisions for using a player have to be motivated by trying to win. There’s arbitration precedent that makes clear that a team cannot sit a player down or decline to use them in order to prevent him from earning a bonus or having a year vest. But again, I have every expectation that the Mets are going to fully honor the Basic Agreement.”
I don’t think any closer is worth $17.5 million dollars whether they are Mariano, Heath Bell, whatever.
Honestly, if K-Rod pitches like he is capable of and shows himself to be an elite top five closer, I won’t mind his option so much. Afterall, it’s our bed so now we have to sleep in it.
I also would add that if by chance, the Mets are winning and somehow find themselves in the thick of a pennant race, I couldn’t care less about that option and I would be PISSED OFF if there were any attempts made to minimize his appearances and save opportunities, especially if he’s pitching effectively and shutting down offenses.
Of course there is always the odd chance that if the Mets are out of it, perhaps a contender would be desperate enough to trade for an effective K-Rod and worry about the option when all is said and done. In that case it wouldn’t be our problem anymore.
The bottom line is, no matter what happens we need K-Rod to be healthy and pitching lights out for us this season. If that happens, the situation is not nearly as dire as it could potentially be.