LAS VEGAS – Based on a number of reports and sources, Francisco Rodriguez will sign a three-year, $37 million dollar contract with the Mets tomorrow after a physical in New York.
The Mets have seemingly reached this deal after two days of talk between the club and agent Paul Kinzer.
“He’s a tremendously skilled closer,” said manager Jerry Manuel during his media session. “I was impressed with the energy he had when he came out and with that energy came confidence.”
With Rodriguez, the Mets are signing one of the top closers in the game, who went 2-3 last year with a 2.24 ERA and a Major League record 62 saves for the Los Angeles Angels. Over his six year career, the righthander went 23-17 with a 2.35 ERA and 208 saves.
“K-Rod” will fill the void left by the injured Billy Wagner who had to get Tommy John surgery back in August, leaving the Mets short in the bullpen to say the least.
“We lost a lot of games late,” Manuel said. “We did a good job of overcoming them. To have someone of that magnitude, our chances would be much greater.”
This was goal No. 1 for the Mets as they came to Vegas with the goal of obtaining a closer. After having dinner with Rodriguez on Sunday and then meetings the last two days, the two sides came to the agreement this morning.
Originally the club offered a two year deal with an option, but that was a starting off point, and upped the offer to three years with an incentive based option, which would bring the total up to $51 million if everything kicks in.
Yet, the deal is not done yet and something could go wrong in the physical. Rodriguez did lose some speed off his fastball over the past few seasons, which could be a red flag. Yet, it may be nothing, because K-Rod also developed a tremendous curve, which complimented his other pitches.
All this means the Mets got their man. Rodriguez is the first step in revamping an awful bullpen, which derailed the club’s chances last season.
“In the way we lost some close games, we it was critically for us to theoretically address this thing here,” Manuel said. “In the way we lost games and myself trying to interchange pieces late, it wore on the players.
Now the Mets will concentrate on the rest of the bullpen. Reportedly they could offer Fuentes a contract for the eighth inning or they can revisit a trade with Colorado for Huston Street.
Also the club will sign a starting pitcher. Manuel said he was confident in Jon Niese as the No. 5 starter, but general manager Omar Minaya will have to either re-sign Oliver Perez or someone to replace him in the rotation.
Finally the Mets are looking at options in the lineup, but as of right now, they will concentrate on pitching.
And as of today, it looks like they got their first priority done.