Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and Huston Street were all names that former Mets GM Omar Minaya had on his list to pursue in the off-season of 2008. Minaya ultimately signed Rodriguez while Fuentes signed with the Angels and Street went to Colorado. Four years later Rodriguez is the set up man in Milwaukee, Street closes for San Diego, and Fuentes was designated for assignment a couple of days ago.
This upcoming deadline, it’s Alderson, not Minaya who is the GM in New York. Alderson will have to address the bullpen and could be looking at these three names.
Rodriguez will be known in Mets history for losing his cool in the team clubhouse and being involved in a scuffle with his father-in-law that lead him to the DL. However, while in New York, Rodriguez saved 83 games for Mets teams that won at most 79 games. Rodriguez never pitched in big games for the Mets and never had the opportunity to live up to his contract. K-Rod, “K” standing for “Kardiac” did make Mets fans sweat come the ninth but usually prevailed. Frankie never gave up the big home run or walk the crucial run. If traded at the deadline, Rodriguez would have $4 million remaining on his deal that Alderson will most likely have to pick up. Known for his high energy come the last frame, K-Rod was the last “Closer” the Mets had and could be the missing key to this team’s entry into the post season.
Street has been a name that has been flown around Flushing lately. Street pitches for a last place Padres team looking to sell. This year, Street has been the only consistent piece for the Padres. Street has 13 saves with a 1.17 era. Street is also a pitcher in his final year of his contract with a mutual option for the 2013 campaign. Street has some history with the Mets but not in a positive way. While in Oakland, Street had issues with former manager and current Mets bench coach Bob Geren. Street called Geren the “least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports.” Street also went on to say “Bob was never good at communication, and I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but it was a sentiment reflected in many conversations during the two years I spent in Oakland, and even recently when talking to guys after I left, For me personally, he was my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27. I am very thankful to be in a place where I can trust my manager.” Should the Mets make a deal with San Diego for Street, the righty would deal with Terry Collins as his skipper and not Geren. While managing for the Angels, Collins’ players signed a petition to have Collins fired, The new and improved Collins seems to have a popular vote of confidence from his team now.
Fuentes is an interesting candidate because his role in New York might not be as the closer. Over the past few seasons, Tim Byrdak has been the left-handed specialist and could probably use some help. Fuentes was designated on July 3rd, 2012 to clear a roster spot for starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. Fuentes also had a bone to pick with Mets bench coach Bob Geren, calling his management style “unorthodox”. Like Street, Fuentes wouldn’t have to worry about Geren’s management skills since Collins is in charge. This season, Fuentes has a 6.48 ERA and five saves, but probably wouldn’t be called on to the ninth inning and could be beneficial late in games against left handed hitters.
The Mets need help in the bullpen, that’s a given, but they don’t just need a closer, they need the lefty specialist like Fuentes who could be serviceable and with Frank Francisco not expected to return until after the all-star break, as for the closer’s role, Bobby Parnell hasn’t had many chances to close games, in fact he’s only got one save in one opportunity this year. Parnell may be the closer of the future but for now, the Mets need a seasoned veteran in the back end of the ‘pen and could use either Rodriguez or Street.