Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Francisco Rodriguez’

The March to Vesting

Posted by JD on September 6, 2010

Alex Cora’s vesting $2 million option was rightfully bashed in every corner of the Mets blogosphere (including here, to pick one post among many). We don’t have to worry about it now that he’s gone, but there’s another, more ominous vesting option looming in 2011: Francisco Rodriguez’ $17.5 million 2012  option. From Cot’s Baseball Contracts (scroll down):

  • 2012 option becomes guaranteed with:
    • 55 games finished in 2011, and
    • 100 games finished in 2010-11, and
    • doctors declare Rodriguez healthy after 2011

For the record, the Games Finished (GF) stat is as obvious as it sounds: it does not require the pitcher to earn a save, he merely has to record the final out of the ballgame. Before his infamous altercation in the Mets’ family room ended his season, Rodriguez recorded 46 GF. That means K-Rod has to finish at least 64 games (and be “declared healthy” after the season, whatever that means) to see his $17.5 million option become guaranteed.

Sounds like a lot, right? Not really. He finished 66 games last year and 69 the year before. In fact, counting his shortened 2010 season, he’s averaged about 59 GF over the last six seasons. There’s every reason to believe that, if his hand heals properly this offseason (which it most likely will), he’ll finish enough games next year to at least get very, very close to vesting that option.

On top of that, while the Mets are obligated to pay K-Rod $11.5 million next season, his contract contains a “poison pill”: performance bonuses that vest based on Games Finished. He’ll receive $150,000 for finishing 50 and 55 games, and $200,000 for finishing 60 games (for a total of $500,000). I find it ironic that Jeff Wilpon will have to write out checks to K-Rod as he inches closer and closer to cashing in on that $17.5 million option.

At this point, you may be saying to yourself: “Big deal, the Mets are going to dump him this offseason anyway”. Sorry to break this to you, but probably not. The MLB Players Association is going to fight the Mets every step of the way: they’ve already filed a grievance on Rodriguez’ behalf, contesting the Mets’ move to make the contract non-guaranteed (this would allow the Mets to avoid paying K-Rod for the remainder of the 2010 season). The grievance will go before an arbitrator in October and the MLBPA stands a decent chance of winning. At the very least, it signals that the Mets can count on fierce resistance from the union from this point on if they try to alter Rodriguez’ contract in any way.

But wait, there’s more! K-Rod has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 10 teams. I can’t tell which teams are on the list, but that’s one-third of the league. The no-trade could seriously limit the market for K-Rod, which almost ensures that the Mets will have to include a serious amount of cash to make a trade happen. Don’t forget that everyone’s favorite roster-filler, Oliver Perez, will be making $12 million next season, too. If the Mets do succeed in moving Rodriguez, I can guarantee you right now that they won’t spend the cash to move Perez, too. What strange bedfellows stupid MLB contracts make: because of that titanic contract option, I have to say that keeping Perez and moving Rodriguez is the smart move. I didn’t think there’d ever be an argument for holding Perez, but the Mets’ management might have one there. Sigh.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you (and applaud your fortitude). Here comes your payoff. You may ask yourself, is $17.5 million really too much to pay for an above-average closer? Well, yes. It’s a stupid amount to pay. Here’s why: let’s assume the 2012 Mets play 162 games (no playoffs, no games lost to weather). That translates to roughly 1,458 innings (I’m not going to try to factor in extra-inning or rain-shortened games). That means that the 2012 Mets pitchers will record 4,374 outs. In his eight full seasons, Rodriguez has averaged about 71 1/3 innings pitched per season. Let’s be generous and assume that he’ll pitch 72 innings in 2012, which would be his highest total since 2006. 72 innings pitched equals 216 outs recorded. 216 divided by 4,374 equals 0.0494. Translation? Your $17.5 million dollar closer is going to record slightly less than 5% of the team’s outs.

Let me rephrase that: if his option vests, the Mets are going to pay Francisco Rodriguez approximately $81,019 per out. What’s more, he’ll get a $1 million dollar performance bonus if he finishes 60 games that year that will raise that number to a nifty $85,648. Astounding.

Say what you want about the contracts of Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, or Luis Castillo: I maintain that the single most important contract to remove is that of Francisco Rodriguez. That vesting option looms as the single biggest waste of money in franchise history. Hyperbolic? Maybe. But if you thought the Mets were handicapped by payroll concerns this season, just wait until 2012.


I’m putting this below the line because it involves total speculation on my part. The Mets average total payroll over the past three seasons was approximately $137,888,000. I have no way to forecast what it will be in 2012, so let’s just assume it will be about $145 million (again, total shot in the dark). If that’s the case, the Mets will be tying up around 12.75% of their total payroll in a pitcher who will record roughly 5% of their total outs. One-eighth of their total payroll will go to a player who might record 216 outs. Just…wow.


Posted in Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Mets, Oliver Perez | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Little Drama

Posted by JD on May 17, 2010

It got a little crazy this afternoon, didn’t it? On the heels of Omar Minaya’s announcement that he would accompany the team to Atlanta, Jeff Wilpon changed his plans and flew down, too. I read Metsblog at least 10 times a day and I happened to check in as this post was published…and that was effectively the end of my workday. The various beat writers were tweeting minute-by-minute status updates, so I pulled out my Blackberry, fired up the Ubertwitter app, and hit refresh approximately every two minutes.

Given how poorly the Mets have played recently, I initially thought we were witnessing the end of Jerry Manuel’s managing tenure. Wilpon, Manuel, Minaya and Assistant GM John Ricco were locked in discussions behind closed doors and I was sure that Jerry would soon be an ex-manager. The doors opened, Jerry walked through, the question was asked, and…Jerry laughed it off and quickly returned to the room with Dan Warthen, Randy Niemann, and Ray Ramirez in tow. Ok, I thought, we’re going to have a new pitching coach.

Not so fast. Warthen, Niemann, and Ramirez left the room a few minutes later, still gainfully employed. Well, that could only mean one thing: upper management was discussing whether they could afford to cut Oliver Perez. But as the minutes crawled by, it slowly dawned on me that they were just getting an update on Jon Niese’s status. Sure enough, word soon came from the beat writers that there was a locker with R.A. Dickey’s name on it, and that Hisanori Takahashi would be taking Niese’s next turn in the rotation.

Wednesday’s starter is still up in the air, but that’s about the only unresolved issue. Jeff Wilpon spoke to the beat writers shortly after the 90-minute ordeal ended, saying “I came to talk baseball… If I felt good about what is going on, I wouldn’t be here.” And that was that. Manuel, Warthen, and Perez kept their jobs, and the Mets got ready to face the Braves.

Oh, that’s right: they also played a game, which the Mets won 3-2. Chris Carter started in right field and had a double and an RBI before being lifted for Jeff Francoeur in a defensive switch…in the 6th inning. GMJ started and did GMJ things again (0-3 with a strike out and a big GIDP with the Mets threatening in the seventh), and Francisco Rodriguez made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth before striking out Nate McClouth to end the game.

Plenty to write about there, but I have no energy for it: getting my hopes up earlier in the afternoon left me spent. The win postponed the Manuel-watch for at least another series or two (I doubt they’ll make a move until after the Yankees series now). But rest assured, we’ll surely be treated to more management-driven drama before long.

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jerry Manuel, Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pointless Question

Posted by JD on April 17, 2010

Last night, Felipe Lopez (hmmm, where have I heard that name before?) came to the plate with the bases loaded. Jerry Manuel reacted by bringing in Raul Valdes to force Lopez to hit from the right side. I suppose this was because something in Jerry’s game preparation indicated that Lopez is a weaker hitter from the right side. I suppose you could say he is: a look at his career splits shows that he has a 98 OPS+ from the right side, which is significantly weaker than the 101 OPS+ he’s posted from the other side of the plate. Never mind that he has three times as many at-bats from the left side (or that his home run rate is almost exactly the same from both sides), bring in your situational lefty! And sure enough, after messing around for a few pitches, Lopez deposited a hanging curve in the visitor’s bullpen in left field.

Here’s my pointless question: why isn’t Jerry using Francisco Rodriguez in that situation? He foolishly lifted Oliver Perez (who just had his best start since 2008 and had only thrown 97 pitches) and watched Fernando Nieve (who made his seventh appearance in only ten games) load the bases. Is there going to be a more important moment in the rest of the game? Why are mess around with Raul Valdes when K-Rod is available? Wouldn’t you rather lose the game with your bullpen ace rather than your fifth best reliever?

Ryota Igarashi would also have been a better choice than Valdes, but my point is this: there was no bigger spot in the game than that bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh. Perez had just made the last out of the inning: the pitcher’s spot wasn’t due up again for eight batters. K-Rod could’ve thrown more than one inning, and the Mets might have one the game instead.

If you’re going to be unconventional, do it large. Don’t take halfway measures like throwing an untested 19 year-old or unknown 31-year old lefty out there. Go all the way: use your closer in high leverage* situations! Sure, K-Rod isn’t comfortable unless he’s starting an inning, but this team can’t afford the luxury of comfort. Manage like you have no tomorrow Jerry, because it’s only a matter of time before you don’t.

*This is as good an example as you’ll ever get. Take a look at the Win Probability Chart on Baseball Reference’s game page. See that giant cliff? That’s the Holliday walk followed by the Lopez home run. Now look at the top 5 plays. See the wWE column? That’s the Winning Team Win Expectancy after any given play. Basically, the Lopez grand slam left the Mets with a 6% of winning the game. And Raul Valdes was given the responsibility instead of K-Rod?

Posted in Jerry Manuel, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Happy Recap! Not So Fast…

Posted by JD on May 23, 2009

What a game! Omir Santos hit a clutch, clutch, clutch (too many clutches?) home run. The Mets came from behind, JJ Putz closed the door, and all was well in the world.

Or was it? While SNY twiddled their thumbs (and showed Yankees highlights), Twitter exploded after the win with bad news:

@metsjetsgirl ogh;sfugahifgha Frankie out indefinitely with back spasms. Seriously, what are they feeding this team???

@metsgeekette Arrrrrrrrrrrre youuuuuuuuu kidding me w/ this injury plague BS?!?!?!!!!?!??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lajs;dkjf;alsjf;lgajslkdjfasd

@fullnelson What the Frack? (New York Mets) RT @kerelcoop RT @NYPost_Mets K-Rod is now sidelined indefinitely by back spasms.

@fifthand56th RT @NYPost_Mets K-Rod is now sidelined indefinitely by back spasms.

@fifthand56th Oh god… RT @NYPost_Mets: K-Rod just collapsed from the spasms outside the clubhouse and is requiring medical attention.

@maverick4880 RT K-Rod just collapsed from the spasms outside the clubhouse and is requiring medical attention.

@fifthand56th RT @NYPost_Mets K-Rod is now crying from the spasms as the EMTs arrive.

@hotfootblog Ok, NOW it’s a crisis. RT @NYPost_Mets: K-Rod just collapsed from the spasms outside the clubhouse and is requiring medical attention.

@metsgeekette ohshitohshitohshitohshit #frankiefeelbetter

@hotfootblog RT @NYPost_Mets A stretcher has just been called for K-Rod outside the clubhouse.

@BothTeamsPlayed Machine now understands why you cry. (Not directly related, just seemed appropriate).

@maverick4880 @NYPost_Mets was first to post the K Rod Situation.

@metsgeekette Twitter is blowing my mind right now. #frankiefeelbetter

@maverick4880 Praying for K-Rod…this is a sad situation if it is serious

@kerelcoop RT @NYPost_Mets: K-Rod just collapsed from the spasms outside the clubhouse and is requiring medical attention.

@djeffreys @mets_geekette same goes for me…after the high of that win, that is quite a low. Hope K-Rod feels better with some medical attention!

@avivero212 @Section518: *BLANK STARE* Whats in the water over there or what type of new xcerise regiment are they practicing? *SMH*

@jamiekrycek WHAT????? no way. #mets RT @NYPost_Mets K-Rod is now sidelined indefinitely by back spasms.

@metsjetsgirl [Too soon… til we find out what’s wrong!!] RT @Section518: RT @hotfootblog: There’s no crying in baseball! (too soon?)

@MetsMerized Everyone pray for K-Rod the person, and that whatever is going on will pass and that he’ll be ok.

@djeffreys I’m hopeful that , in a fit of rage, Jonathan Papelbon hacked Bart Hubbuch’s twitter feed. Is that too much to ask?

@metsgirl4ever RT @MetsMerized: Everyone pray for K-Rod the person, and that whatever is going on will pass and that he’ll be ok.

@metsgeekette @djeffreys That would be an ingenious use of technology by Papelbon. I wish it.

@fifthand56th Oh my goodnessss I love twitter right now, more than ever. #mets

@michealnichols @ChrisCarlinSNY keeps plugging KRod interview. Do they not know what happened?

@hotfootblog Interview with K-Rod by Kevin Burkhardt on SNY coming up. Not sure when he did the interview, had to be before he collapsed.

@fifthand56th @NYPost_Mets Thank you for the K-Rod updates as everything was happening, it was definitely appreciated. I hope he is alright… 😦

@metsgeekette RT: @pattigibbons: RT @MetsMerized Everyone pray for K-Rod the person, and that whatever is going on will pass and that he’ll be ok.

@metsfanforever I truly hope he’s all right

@NY_Post_Mets Here is more on the K-Rod medical situation:

@maverick4880 @NYPost_Mets Thanks for the updates….

@justinleon Fffffffffffdffffffffuuuuuuuu k-rod 😦

@KBurkhardtSNY KRod’s back spasms are a problem. He needed medical attention just to leave the clubhouse and was in tremendous pain. Great win though.

@jamiekrycek Poor Frankie. Pain absolutely sucks. That much pain? Yikes. Feel better soon, K-Rod. #mets

@metsfanforever I am so worried about K-Rod.

What a great win, what a rollercoaster ride after the game. Horrible, terrible, indefensible job by SNY. They’re supposed to be the home of the Mets. Instead, they wasted all of our time. Best wishes to K-Rod. Get well soon!

Posted in Mets, SNY | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »