Minutes after the completion of Tuesday's All-Star Game, reports surfaced that the New York Mets have already parted ways with closer Francisco Rodriguez and his hefty contract -- and potential $17.5 million option next season. Reports indicate that he, along with cash, has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named later.
Obviously, general manager Sandy Alderson prioritized moving K-Rod's contract off of his payroll before the July 31 deadline. It's somewhat shocking that this move has already been consummated with just over two weeks before the official MLB trade deadline still to go. Alderson must have also realized he wasn't going to get anything more than "two players to be named later" in a deal. And that the Brewers' interest was real enough that he had to make the move now, or risk being stuck with him and being forced to pay $17.5 million next season once the games finished clause kicked in. Rodriguez currently has finished 34 games this season, and his clause kicks in when he reaches 55. It's unclear whether he will close or set-up for current Brewers' closer John Axford, but with the move to Scott Boras as his agent, you'd think the pressure would be on Milwaukee to place him into the ninth-inning role despite Axford pitching so well this season (23 saves, 2.83 ERA). Still, my bet is that Axford remains the closer.
Bobby Parnell should assume the closer's role now for the Mets. The flamethrower has enjoyed a very nice season and it's mostly come because he's been able to harness his fastball and exhibit control. He has 24 2/3 innings thrown this season, with 24 hits allowed and 30 strikeouts. The 26-year-old can be wild, but he has the dominant stuff to succeed in a stopper's role.
Kudos to Alderson for getting anything of value for K-Rod when those chances were beginning to look dimmer by the day. The Mets have six months to name those "two players" in this deal.