Somehow, some way Mets GM Sandy Alderson got rid of Francisco Rodriguez and his onerous contract without having to eat a significant chunk of it.
He even got two players to be named later back from the Brewers in exchange for K-Rod.
It’s pure genius.
Not genius in the crafted and farcical Moneyball sense of the word, but in a practical application of what needed to be done to make the Mets better in a timely fashion.
In part because of the onerous $17.5 million contract option that was in serious jeopardy of being activated if and when he finished 55 games this season (and was deemed healthy—evidently physically and not mentally); that the club loathed him for his inexplicable assault on his father-in-law in the Citi Field family room last August; and that they have to see what they have in Bobby Parnell as a closer, K-Rod had to go.
Did the pitcher’s decision to fire agent Paul Kinzer and hire Scott Boras have anything to do with Alderson acting so decisively in getting rid of him two weeks before the trading deadline? Possibly. Boras was already saber-rattling with demands as to where K-Rod wanted to go via trade even though his contract only stipulated 10 teams to whom he couldn’t be traded without his consent. The Brewers weren’t on the list. Boras is going to have a say in what happens with Carlos Beltran when (not if) the Mets deal him as well—I doubt Alderson wanted to spend the entire month of July with Boras squawking in the newspapers, websites and in his ear.
According to Jon Heyman, the Mets tossed $5 million into the pot along with K-Rod. This greased the skids to get the deal done and may have yielded better prospects than expected. For a pitcher who was a release candidate when (again, not if) the Mets start to fade, at least they got something and didn’t have to go through the legal nightmare that undoubtedly would’ve ensued had they released K-Rod in August to prevent him from reaching the contract incentive.
Regardless of what they’re getting back, this was a great maneuver on the part of Alderson.
Jason Isringhausen will presumably get a chance to close for the next couple of weeks until he too is traded. He’s a popular player with Mets fans and is 7 saves away from 300—the number seems important to Isringhausen. The same fans reviled K-Rod and wanted him gone. Reaction to the trade has been mostly positive.
After that, we’ll see.
They’ll be free to do anything. They can even use a modified bullpen-by-committee based on the matchups. None of the above-mentioned pitchers—including Isringhausen—are in a position to demand to “know their roles”, a familiar and viable lament among veteran relievers.
The Mets won’t be beholden to this concept because all of these pitchers are either journeymen or youngsters who are trying to hold onto their jobs—that more than anything is the tipping point of the failure of a bullpen-by-committee.
This trade will be perceived as the Mets giving up on the 2011 season.
But giving up on what exactly?
Did anyone really believe they were contenders?
In a division with the Phillies and Braves and 7 1/2 games out of the Wild Card lead, they weren’t a factor in the playoff race with or without K-Rod. To keep with the magic-related theme, it made no sense to proffer an illusion and placate a delusional segment of the fan base, thereby harming the franchise even more for 2012 and beyond by letting K-Rod reach 55 games finished and activate his option.
It was better to make him disappear.
This was the right move all around and a master stroke from Sandy the Magician—the man who made K-Rod go POOF!! to the joy of Metsville.