Blog Entry

Does option hinder K-Rod trade? Maybe not

Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:25 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 8:58 pm
 
PHOENIX -- For weeks, the conventional wisdom on Francisco Rodriguez has been that if the Mets trade him, it would be to a team that needs a setup man rather than one that needs a closer.

The thinking was that with K-Rod already 62 percent of the way toward guaranteeing his $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 (he needs 55 games finished, and he has 34 at the All-Star break), no team would want to take a chance on letting him get there.

But here's something to think about, something that might change that conventional wisdom significantly:

K-Rod just changed agents, from Paul Kinzer to Scott Boras. Boras is likely to be less worried about the vesting option and more concerned about positioning Rodriguez as the best closer on this winter's free-agent market (and, in fact, Boras reminded reporters Monday that K-Rod is a closer and should remain one). The best way to position Rodriguez as a closer is to have him close games all year -- and if he does it in a pennant race, so much the better).

But what about that $17.5 million?

Well, it doesn't need to be $17.5 million. K-Rod could potentially (and would consider, according to sources) bargain away that vesting option, perhaps for an increase in the $3.5 million buyout that is already part of his contract.

That way, the Mets could get prospects they need back in a trade (and avoid paying the $17.5 million themselves), the acquiring team would get a quality closer (and not run the risk of spending $17.5 million next year themselves). And K-Rod would get an improved buyout, a chance to better position himself in the free-agent market, and the opportunity to hit the market at 29 years old, rather than at 30.

*****

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters last week that it's "very unlikely" that he'll trade Jose Reyes, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

I'm starting to believe him (especially with Reyes currently on the disabled list), but I'm still not fully convinced. And here's one significant thing to remember when considering whether Reyes will be traded:

When Reyes closed the door on in-season contract negotiations with the Mets, he didn't completely rule out an in-season deal with a team that would trade for him. In fact, sources say, Reyes would be willing to consider such a proposal.

Why would he listen to another team and not the Mets, when he has said that he loves playing in New York and would like to stay with the Mets? Two possible reasons: One, Reyes knows that the Mets are in no financial position now to make him an offer that he would consider accepting, and he doesn't want them to make an offer that would solely help them public relations-wise. Second, were he to talk with another team, it would only be during a brief window once a trade was agreed to, so it wouldn't be nearly as much of a distraction.

*****

Of all the Mets, All-Star Carlos Beltran remains the most likely to be traded, in part because his contract doesn't permit the Mets to offer him salary arbitration at the end of the season. Thus, the Mets would not get any draft-pick compensation when Beltran signs with another team.

The Giants are one team known to be interested in Beltran.




Comments

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Does option hinder K-Rod trade? Maybe not

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