The Glut Of Closers Available—More Than The Economy—Led K-Rod To The Mets
The economy will be seen as a culprit in Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez signing with the Mets, but the sheer number of closers available was more of a hindrance to K-Rod getting the contract he expected than anything else.
I took economics in college—-and passed it—-but I don’t claim to have any knowledge of the ins-and-outs. Part of the reason for that is that I only went to the class on test days; somehow managed to do well enough on the final and one of the other tests (the worst grade of the first two tests was dropped) to get the credit (and I didn’t even cheat!). Even without that experience, I understand that if the market is flooded with certain commodities, the price has to come down. If K-Rod were the top dog in the market for closers as C.C. Sabathia is for teams looking for starters, then he would’ve come closer to his initial demand of 5-years, $75 million; instead, he’s getting 3-years, $37 million from the Mets with a vesting option—-MLB Story.*
*I called this on November 6th, almost to the last dollar:
The market realities, statistical realities, history of closers not being worth the big free agent contracts and Francisco Rodriguez’s playoff meltdown may be contributing to this—-ESPN Story;
but by all of a sudden saying that K-Rod and his agent Paul Kinzer are
willing to be “creative” and “flexible” will absolutely open up the
possibility that K-Rod could end up with many more teams than before.
If that’s the case, the Mets may end up as the last team standing and,
while I’ve been adamantly opposed to breaking the bank for K-Rod, I’d
be perfectly willing to meet them in the middle with something in the
nature of a 3-year, $38 million base with easily reachable incentives
based on appearances and saves and a performance option for the fourth
year that he’d definitely reach if he’s healthy.
With so many options available and since the Mets were one of the few teams that had some money to spend to fill that need, they were in a great position to get the bargain that they did and provide manager Jerry Manuel with his horse at the back of the bullpen. While K-Rod was their first and best choice, Mets GM Omar Minaya made it clear that if K-Rod and his representation stuck anywhere close to the 5-year, $75 million pipe dream, they Mets would be perfectly willing to move down the line to sign Kerry Wood or Brian Fuentes; or trade for Jose Valverde; J.J. Putz; Huston Street; or Bobby Jenks.
This was the best option since it’s always better to keep the young players that would be required to complete a trade and sign a free agent for nothing more than money and draft picks and the Mets got their closer on their terms.
It also helped that K-Rod wants to play in New York (unlike a big lefty who was mentioned earlier and is pleading for some West Coast team to “save” him from everything involved with the Big Apple); K-Rod loves the spotlight and has the personality that will make him a huge star with the Mets if he does well; and I think he will.
It’s a great, short-term deal for both sides and K-Rod, at age 27, will still have plenty of time in his career to make up for the money he “lost” after his record breaking season of 62 saves and having to settle for almost half the years and half the dollars he wanted in what he got from the Mets. If he’s as good and reliable as he’s been in his career up to now, the Mets will be perfectly willing to renegotiate and give him an extension after perhaps two years. It’s a mutually advantageous deal.