Trade Candidate: Francisco Rodriguez

78910062528_Twins_at_Mets The season is but a few weeks old,and we've already seen a fair amount of upheaval at the closer's role. That's not unexpected, of course; each year seems to bring a slew of injuries and demotion-prompting ineffectiveness among the league's closers. With such a high turnover rate, many teams understandably prefer to turn over closing duties to cheaper guys – it's just better business. Still, the lure of relying on a top-tier, tested closer can be tough to resist for a contending team.

With the Mets in the early stages of what many project to be a rebuilding mode, Francisco Rodriguez makes for an intriguing potential trade candidate. He could probably be acquired without giving up much in return, but between his pricey 2012 option and limited (10 teams) no-trade clause, it won't be easy. The $17.5MM option for '12 will vest with 55 games finished (and if K-Rod's deemed healthy). That's an unsightly price tag for a closer and would be especially garish if the Mets aren't contending. If the option doesn't vest, K-Rod will get a $3.5MM buyout.

We've heard that the Mets won't allow K-Rod to finish that many games, but in his first six seasons as a full-time closer from 2005-10, K-Rod averaged 59 games finished. With eight appearances and six games finished in the Mets' first 22 tilts this season, he's on pace for 59 appearances and 44 games finished. Those figures, however, could be a bit skewed by the Mets' slow start.

As unattractive as that vesting option is for the Mets, it's equally, if not more, unattractive to a potential trade partner. Typically, a contending team that's acquiring a pending-free-agent closer would like to use the pitcher as often as necessary – and not have to worry about financial ramifications. As well, Rodgriguez's season ended prematurely in 2010 after injuring his hand in a clubhouse altercation with his father-in-law. That won't reflect well under "makeup" on those scouting reports.

Between the specter of the vesting option and Rodriguez's limited no-trade clause, it figures to severely limit his trade market. A savvy buyer, though, could look into acquiring him as a setup man/secondary closer so as to circumvent the games finished.

Whether the Mets can deal K-Rod remains to be seen, but his games finished – and option – bears watching regardless. He won't be the most sought-after closer out there, as that distinction belongs to Heath Bell. The market for Bell could be fierce, though, and he won't come cheaply, at least not for a while. But a reliever like K-Rod – a 2.49 career ERA and 272 saves – should garner some interest.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

66 Responses to Trade Candidate: Francisco Rodriguez Leave a Reply

  1. Scott Littlefield 4 years ago


    • imj175 4 years ago

      No way… we don’t need to make the mistake of taking this loser!!! Just like we did with Roger Clemens.

  2. Jake8 4 years ago

    Great Fit for the Rays if the Mets pay a chunk of his salary !!! And I hear the Mets are only wanting low minor league players . If this trade went through the Rays would have acquired one of the best closers in the game today

    • johnsilver 4 years ago

      You do realize that his 17M option that he just may obtain GF for this year is 40% of the entire Rays payroll? Does anyone see tight wad Friedman paying anyone, let alone a closer that much?

    • The whole point about trading K-Rod is so that the Mets don’t have to pay his salary.

    • The issue is that the Mets would likely do EITHER a pay a big chunk OR take lesser prospects. So… Tampa would need to shell out a good prospect for the Mets to eat the majority of 2011 money.

      It would then be up to the Rays if they let his option pick up.

  3. Mark P 4 years ago

    the question is, does Izzy get a shot at closing if K-ROD is traded?

    • No, Beato will probably get it.

      • I like Beato too, but its really early so lets wait till he adjusts to the league adjustment that will be made against him. Parnell (if he comes back “healthy” and back to last year’s form) and Izzy definitely should get first shot.

    • adropofvenom 4 years ago

      Outside of some more bad luck from Parnell this season so far, he’s still really the best reliever the Mets have……he would be my preference, although maybe Izzy would get first crack because of his veteran status (and the Mets wanting to avoid paying Parnell closer money for as long as possible).

  4. FamiliaTerritory 4 years ago

    White Sox. Calling it right now.

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      That seems like something Kenny Williams would do. The only thing is, Kenny almost NEVER does the obvious. He’s always pulling off moves that are unexpected. That being said, they’ve worked out in recent years. Even if they don’t trade for him, Kenny & co. are going to be in on someone at some point.

    • Team I thought of as soon as I saw this. They got the money, unreliable closers. Possible contenders…. FITS!

    • It makes sense. I could also see Texas.

  5. METfan201 4 years ago

    Rays is a fit

    • I am Urban Legend 4 years ago

      Rays are a fit if they use him as their 8th inning man…they cant afford his option for next year

  6. kimofromkauai 4 years ago

    If the Mets pay the bill, how about the Dodgers? Rodriguez could set up for now, miss the vesting, then close later after Broxton fails completely.

    • LMFAO. really?

      • kimofromkauai 4 years ago

        Yea really, because Ned C likes to trade good prospects for troubled vets. Plus MLB will not allow him to add payroll.

        • Really not sure where you are going with that.

          • So they pay the salary and the Dodgers give up Gordon, Robinson, and Withrow.. Something like that?

          • kimofromkauai 4 years ago

            Yes, that would be exactly the type of move the Dodgers would make. Not Gordon but a prospect that would be too good except for the fact that the Mets are paying all the F Rod salary. Remember C Santana/Blake.

          • And you want this to happen?

          • kimofromkauai 4 years ago

            Not at all. But considering possible trade partners for the Mets the Dodgers may match up.

          • The thought of that happening makes me nauseous

    • The Dodgers would need to send a GOOD prospect back if the Mets were going to eat the majority of 2011’s contract.

  7. I am Urban Legend 4 years ago

    if the mets pay a good portion of his salary, I could see the rangers making a move for him…ditto the red-sox…mets need pitching/middle-infield prospects.

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      The Red Sox & Rangers…? Please explain why either of those teams need or would want him. Besides the obvious fact you can never have enough pitching, I’m not seeing any reason to go trade decent prospects for a reliever who probably is walking at the end of the year.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Boston just sent Aceves to the minors for lack of a roster spot and he was doing pretty decent. seriously doubt they would give up little to nothing, much less take the risk of paying him 17M next year when they already control Bard, jenks and may offer Papelbon arbitration if he has a decent season.

        • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

          Okay, help me out with this, because I couldn’t come to a decision in my head. Is it better to offer Pap arbitration or not? If you do, he may accept because there are a lot of good closers hitting the open market next off season, driving down the price of closers, and arbitration guarantees him top dollar. Or he may decline for the same reason… that he’s a top reliever in the market, and lots of teams need closers because they all hit free agency. I don’t know…

          • johnsilver 4 years ago

            Scary isn’t it. Papelbon has a good season, becomes a FA like will happen, spends the 1st week looking at offers and finds that mega payday may not materialize with the glut of closers available this coming season and he *might* just take that arbitration offer *if* Boston makes it after the season and papelbon has a good season, you can be pretty sure if will happen.

            Rivera money for a season, stacked with Jenks and Bard for 2012 and can figure the Boston FO was not counting on that.

            Why think that any talk of Rodriquez going to Boston would have to be AFTER 2 of the trio of Bard/Papelbon/jenks were hurt for an extended period and they were desperate and/or some agreement was in place to void that atrocious option of his.

    • Boston has Papelbon, Jenks and Bard.

      Texas could use him with Feliz hurt or if they were to try to convert Feliz to the rotation.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        it’s too late for that he’s not stretched out

        • dc21892 4 years ago

          No, it’s not too late for that. High unlikely, but not too late. They’d have to send him to the minors during the season which would be stupid, but possible.

  8. MadmanTX 4 years ago

    Surprised no speculation on the Rangers being in on a trade. Seems like there would be with Feliz shelved.

    • There is plenty of speculation but the key is if the how much money the Mets would take and what they’d get back.

  9. j6takish 4 years ago

    No pitcher should be paid 17.5mm based on the fact that he can pitch one inning without giving up 3 runs 55 times a year

  10. This is unlikely, but what if the Angels brought him back?

  11. Whats gonna happen with that 17 plus million dollar gem for next season? How much is the rays payroll?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      that probably won’t vest

      • 17.5 million dollars.. Really Omar?

        • It’ll be years till this omar mess is fixed. it’s gonna be frustrating to be a met fan for a while.

          • Wrong,

            Beltran + Rodriguez + Perez + Castillo’s money go off the books after 2011

            Meaning the Mets have Santana and Bay’s contracts left. That isn’t crippling.

      • The Rays like the Mets have nobody who can close in his place.

    • Being a Rays fan, I’d love to have him because it’s him, but damn, we CANNOT afford that option. I would rather spend all of our payroll locking up Longo and Price…

  12. Yes, because putting this after Jason Bay got back and a Mets 4 game winning streak is underway is smart.

    • hardcoreforhardcore 4 years ago

      That’s all fine and well, but fact of the matter is that option vesting is absolutely terrifying to the Mets, let alone any other team.

  13. MetsEventually 4 years ago


  14. I think the best landing spots for him are:

    1 – White Sox – BUT – if their hitting cannot turn around this is a moot point

    2 – Cardinals – bad bull pen, and this may be their last shot to go to the post season before Pujols leaves

    3 – Rays – Hard to tell where the Rays are going to shake out this year – their starters should be good enough to keep them in games, but their offense is really going to struggle to score runs.

    • I wouldn’t count out teams WITH closers. Reds could avoid that option by getting K-Rod as a setup guy.

      Rangers and Angels are also potential fits.

  15. Twins should trade Cuddyer, Slowey, and Nathan to the Mets for K-Rod. I would be in favor of that.

    • Bernaldo 4 years ago

      “Twins should trade Cuddyer, Slowey, and Nathan to the Mets for K-Rod. I would be in favor of that”. Camden

      Add Jose Reyes and you may have yourself a deal.

  16. Hard to imagine anyone acquiring him with the thought of using him as their primary closer. If I were trading for him I’d make sure I had two other guys who could close instead. For instance, if the Cubs traded for him (they won’t) I’d make sure he knew that Wood and Marmol would both have to be on the DL before he got a shot at finishing games. That vesting option is just stupid and scary.

    • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

      Carlos Marmol’s slider… now that’s stupid and scary!

  17. icedrake523 4 years ago

    Any team that picks him up will be REALLY desperate.

    He’ll probably be traded after July 31 since no one will likely claim him on waivers (and if they do, it’s a huge win for the Mets).

  18. rovert22044 4 years ago

    I hope the Rangers land him. K-Rod/Feliz would be a sick 8-9 inning punch!

  19. FrankFranciscoSaysTakeASeat 4 years ago

    I’m guessing either the White Sox or the Rangers, although the White Sox might be a better fit. You have to wonder how Rodriguez would take to the idea of being the 8th inning guy in Texas given how much money he has at stake in finishing games this season. But if the worst comes from the Feliz injury, the Rangers suddenly become the prohibitive favorites in this sweepstakes.

  20. If a team like boston who already has a closer gets him and use him for the 8th inning. That 17.5 million option would never trigger.

  21. dc21892 4 years ago

    So that’s how it works? Hm…

  22. Bust A Posey 4 years ago

    U got to find 3 guys to get you through the 4th

  23. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    As a Jays fan, no thanks. They still need guys who get on base, a SP who can eat up useful innings, and a break from the injury parade. Not another reliever.

  24. Well to be fair, the K-Rod hate started when he started sucking midway through the first year of his contract. That’s when thigns turned downhill in 09, well not the injury part but the feeling that we were out of it started coming when he started blowing saves.

  25. johnsilver 4 years ago

    1) They already had Billy Wagner under contract and he was expected back then next season.

    2) Wilpon isn’t in the same league as the Steinbrenner’s as has been said many times over. His choice of front office personel, minor leagues, the entire system..

  26. Slopeboy 4 years ago

    Obviously you don’t pay too much attention.

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