Our man Jimmy Hascup wrote earlier today about the reports that New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez would be willing to set up for a contending team for the final couple of months of 2011. Meaning, K-Rod said in so many words ‘yes, I would go set up for Mariano Rivera.’
We know that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has emphatically said he has no interest in the biggest fish the Mets might be dangling during the next few weeks — shortstop Jose Reyes. He has, however, admitted he is looking for bullpen help for a relief corps decimated by injuries to Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte.
Is ‘K-Rod’ the answer? Let’s forget about the $37-million dollar contract and the $17.5-million vesting option if he finishes 55 games this season. Those are reasons the Mets will be looking to move him before July 31, but they won’t be factors in whether the Yankees acquire him or not.
The Mets would be extremely reluctant to move Reyes to the Yankees, but you would have to doubt that same hesitation would apply to Rodriguez. The Mets pretty much have to move him, he isn’t really a very likable guy — in fact I know Yankee fans aren’t fond of the guy, either.
Rodriguez would be a huge gamble for the Yankees. Yes, he has 20 saves and he will probaby have the biggest name and best resume of all the pitchers available in the trade market this summer. And I have to agree with River Avenue Blues that the Yankees should think hard about this.
Thing is, the former closer as setup guy has not always worked for the Yankees. See Soriano so far this year. What about nightmares like Kyle Farnsworth, Octavio Dotel and LaTroy Hawkins? A closer moving to setup man does not always work.
K-Rod does not throw with the velocity he used to possess, or the sharp breaking ball. He relies heavily now on his changeup and on deception. So far this season he is pitching to the second-highest ERA of his career (3.25), is giving up more than a hit per inning for the first time in his 10-year career (37 hits, 36 innings) and is pitching to the highest WHIP (1.417). So, those numbers might be a bit alarming.
Yes, the Yankees need some help for David Robertson in getting the ball to Mariano Rivera. And yes, K-Rod might end up being the best available option. For the Yankees, though, this is anything but a no-brainer.