Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Thoughts On Moving K-Rod

Posted by JD on April 24, 2011

The Phillies placed Jose Contreras on the disabled list today, further straining a bullpen that’s already lost closer Brad Lidge. I bring this up because Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger retweeted this info with a comment suggesting that the Mets should call the Phillies and propose trading them Francisco Rodriguez. For some reason, I can’t find the original retweet in McCullough’s timeline (most likely operator error). I was able to find this retweet of a response that kind of sums up the negative response generated by McCullough’s comment.

I’m not bringing this exchange up to criticize McCullough. Far from it, actually. While I don’t relish the thought of helping the Phillies patch a weakness, I don’t think it matters as much as the long-term health of the club. K-Rod’s vesting option could seriously limit the Mets’ roster flexibility. While I could make an argument that $11.5 million is too much to pay a closer, I hope I don’t have to actually debate the merits of paying one $14 million (K-Rod will be owed $3.5 million regardless of whether the option kicks in). Moving that contract should be priority number one, ahead of resigning/dealing Jose Reyes* or finding a trade partner for Carlos Beltran.

*Come to think of it, I bet having that extra $14 million available for other uses might go a long way to resigning Reyes. Just another reason to move that contract.

If that means trading said closer to a division rival, even one who has won the division for three consecutive seasons, so be it. But if that’s a hold-up for you, consider this: the Phillies already have a 2012 payroll that exceeds $112 million. For eleven players, all of whom will be 31 or older. Throw Rodriguez into that mix and suddenly the Phillies owe $129 million to less than half their roster. And that doesn’t factor in an extension for Cole Hamels. In terms of sound roster management we should be thrilled if we give Rodriguez to the Phillies, never mind acquiring a useful prospect.

Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that the Mets would be improving the Phillies’ 2011 roster. I get that the emotional baggage of helping a division rival combined with watching Rodriguez torment his former team is an unpleasant thought for many fans. I understand why that would make this deal untenable for you. I won’t beat you over the head with my arguments but I’ll just add this: would you trade K-Rod for Jose Reyes and a prospect? That’s essentially how this deal could break down, and I’d sign up for that in a minute (even if the “prospect” translated into “replacement-level reliever”).

While we’re on the subject of dealing Rodriguez, I’d like to bring up this post by Mets Today’s Joe Janish. In a purely speculative nature, Janish wonders if the White Sox may be interested in trading for K-Rod. I agree with Joe: it is a “match made in heaven”. Kenny Williams has shown a willingness to ignore bad contracts before (see: Rios, Alex). Ozzie Guillen is all over the place, but his players generally like playing for him. Throw in the fact that both he and Rodriguez (and Omar Vizquel) are Venezuelan, and this might be an ideal landing spot for K-Rod. There’s no substance to this speculation, but I (and, I suspect, most all Mets fans) would be happy to see his option vest on the South Side.

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16 Responses to “Thoughts On Moving K-Rod”

  1. Great ideas there regarding moving K-Rods contract. I’d do it in a heartbeat. Let’s face it, the Mets are probably not a play-off bound team this year. This is a transitional year. What matters is the future. The Phillies are gradually getting old. The Mets badly need to cut payroll, and put some new young blood in their pipeline. Who cares if this deal helps the Phils this year? I can live with them getting into the playoffs this year if it improves our chances of getting into the playoffs next year, and for years to come.
    Nice post, Bill

    • JD said

      I’m on the same page as you. One thing that I’m kicking myself for not including in the original post: I’m confident Sandy Alderson realizes this. I’d take almost any bet that he moves K-Rod as soon as he can. I have no way of knowing this, but I’m sure of it. Thanks again for reading.

  2. Rich Stub said

    If the Phils will take him, great. Let them eat that paycheck next year too. The Mets can get by with Izzy and Beatto. I’d rather get rid of that salary and putting that money toward Reyes. Pipe dreams, both, for sure.

    • JD said

      I can’t think about how upset I’d be if K-Rod is on the 2012 roster and Reyes isn’t. I don’t think that will happen, but it definitely contributes to my desire to move K-Rod. Thanks for reading.

  3. Seth Burn said

    Only way the Phillies take K-Rod is if the Mets pay a portion of his salary. K-Rod would obviously clear wavers.

    • JD said

      Maybe. I was positive Alex Rios would clear waivers but Kenny Williams snagged him. It only takes one GM. That being said,I’m not opposed to spending money this season to reduce next season’s obligations. I wonder how flexible the Wilpons can be after eating Ollie Perez’ and Luis Castillo’s contracts. Will it have to wait until someone buys a minority stake in the club? And how much can they offer? $5 million? $10 million? They did save a few million bucks last season when K-Rod was arrested: is that money in play, or has it already been spent?

      Come to think of it, what if they trade Beltran for a couple of minor leaguers without throwing money in? Could those savings be used to trade K-Rod? Lots of moving pieces, more than a few that I wouldn’t have considered if you didn’t comment. Thanks.

  4. curMetgeon said

    KRod’s contract is untenable I have yet to converse with anyone who thinks otherwise. But he’s also pretty good at his job for not being Mariano Rivera. I wonder if it’s possible that his agent could sit down with the Mets and hammer out an extension that would keep KRod here and give him more total dollars but a lower annual salary, essentially trading his 1 year and $17.5 million for greater long term security. Ideally I agree with your idea of trading him I think it’s best. But if a reasonable trade partner can’t be found I think an extension is another way to get around the terrible 2012 balloon salary.

    • JD said

      That’s an interesting idea that I don’t remember hearing yet. I can’t sign off on it because I’d rather not extend the pain. Yes, the $17.5 would be mitigated. But, they’d still be paying a ridiculous amount to a player who might pitch what? 70 innings? There are better ways to spend money.

      I guess I could talk myself into it, but I think I’d rather dig deep and absorb the pain in 2012 rather than spread it out over subsequent seasons. Regardless, thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. tensionfilter said

    The Phillies already sucked their farm system dry with the deals of the past few off seasons.
    There is always the chance the Mets renegotiate K-Rods option and split it up into a 2 year extension.

  6. brachialplexus said

    i think i remember hearing the white sox tapped themselves out with the dunn and konerko signings. im not totally sure alderson would be willing to trade k-rod until close to the deadline either. they are definitely worried about getting people in the seats and dumping quality players wont help. maybe right around the deadline we might be able to send him to a team looking for a rent-a-closer. maybe the cards?

  7. Chris said

    I’d be shocked if KRod would be claimed off waivers, let alone get traded. Pretty confident Phillies would hang up the phone within a minute if the Mets came calling.

  8. Ritwik said

    This is great from the Met’s point of view, but why on Earth would the Phillies go through with this trade? They already know they will be at the top of the division this year, so why jeopardize future years with excessive contracts and strained payroll? This is only a fantasy for a Mets fan, to be honest. Ruben Amaro is a smart General Manager, and considering they have already given up many prospects (trading prospects for cliff lee, then trading cliff lee and prospects for halladay), it is very unlikely a deal will be made. Of course, the ideas of K-Rod being shipped to Chicago or a team looking for a closer like the Cardinals near the deadline are quite plausible.

    • SantanaClaus said

      I think it makes all the sense in the world for the phillies. Remember our 2008 without a closer and all those blown saves? Not to mention for the playoffs they’ll need a closer and even if lidge and contreras come back then with that rotation and those 3 at the end that’s truely scary.

  9. Jason said

    I think the Mets should hang onto K-rod as long as possible and then MAYBE dump him near the deadline. The reasoning is I totally do NOT expect that option to vest, no way that management LETS him finish 55 games.

    The thing is, if the Mets get hot and the starting rotation can tread water until Johan is back, we can still have a wildcard shot. So, say its mid-September and you are trailing the Braves by 1 game in the Woldcard, your down in Atlanta on a Sunday night nationaly telivised game, up by 1 going into the bottom of the ninth with the heart of the Braves lineup due. I want K-Rod pitching that inning, I don’t trust anyone else (Well, other than Santana of course) on this ENTIRE staff to get those outs. Sure K-Rod is an adventure every time, but hes still considered one of the better closers. He also knows what that sort of rediculous pressure is like and can handle it better than someone like Parnell or Beato.

    Second, the Mets just need to be smart about using K-Rod. I think hes being used well so far, closing games traditionally. Thats good, we get the season started winning as much as possible. A month from now, I think you use K-Rod differently. Say you are playing the Phillies and your up by 2 in the 8th, they have guys like Utley, Howard and Ibanez due up. Use K-Rod in the 8th and then use Parnell/Izzy/Beato for the 9th againbst the back of the order. Up by 1 or 2 in the 8th can be just as important, or even more important, of a “save” situation as the 9th depending on the order, so just try to use K-Rod in the “harder” inning, that way you get fine results without letting him finish 55 games.

    Unless we are in Pirate-level playoff contention near the allstar break, I think you hold on. You need a top level closer to compete late September/playoffs, so I would keep him until we are sure that we have absolutly zero need this year!

    • SM said

      Sorry to disappoint you but we are not going to be fighting for the wildcard this season. Also, the union will file a claim against the mets if we just start using K-Rod in the 8th.

      Only solution I see to this contract mess is to trade him to a team that need bullpen help but already have a recognized closer so the option will not vest.

      We’d need to provide some salary support but it would retain flexibility for 2012 payroll

  10. […] Rodriguez’s vesting option hanging over the season like an evil storm cloud, Section 518 proposes the Mets do whatever they can to trade their bespectacled closer. That means even considering a […]

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