The New York Mets have a number of candidates who figure to be sent packing come the July 31 MLB trade deadline. Besides position players like Jose Reyes (who looks to be staying, for now) or Carlos Beltran, closer Francisco Rodriguez could be another trade chip for a team looking to bolster its bullpen.
Even though his priority is to remain a closer if he's traded, K-Rod is open to setting up as well. Thursday he told the New York Daily News that he'd consider a role change if he's deal to a contender.
"If I am going to be traded, obviously I want the opportunity to close out games, but if it's going to be good teams like the Yankees or the Rays, and it's going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out," Rodriguez said.
K-Rod is in the last year of a three-year, $37 million deal that includes a $17.5 million option that automatically kicks in if he finishes 55 games this year. He currently has 28 games finished this year. If he is considered a set-up guy for a contending team, then this vesting option would obviously not be exercised because saves would be few and far between.
K-Rod has 20 saves, a 3.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with 41 strikeouts in 36 innings this year. Not nearly as dominating as he once was, Rodriguez would still be a nice piece for a contender to have in its bullpen.
He has 10 teams included in his no trade clause, but doesn't expect it to be a stumbling block if the Mets try to deal him.
"Honestly I don't even know what (teams) are on the no-trade clause, I haven't even been asked about that yet," Rodriguez said. "I mean I would definitely love to stay here, but I have to be open to every possibility out there right now."
Wednesday, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he was not against making trades with the Mets.
"I've done three deals with them and they were all pretty big," Cashman had told The News. "(Armando) Benitez was a big name. (Robin) Ventura for David Justice was kind of big deal, our need for their need.
"But it's complicated because ... no one wants to make a mistake in their own backyard. ... No one's going to make that type of mistake too easily. The only way you would typically line up to do something is if the opposing side is so motivated to move whatever they've got."
Expect Mets GM Sandy Alderson to explore every possible avenue for a trade, including with the team from the Bronx. For a team that's cash strapped and in somewhat of a "re-molding" mode, also expect him to try his best to send K-Rod packing within the month.