How well do fans remember the tenure that closer Francisco Rodriguez had with the New York Mets? Do they remember the confrontation he had with New York Yankees reliever Brian Bruney before a game? Do they remember the shouting match he had with Mets bullpen coach Randy Niemann while he was warming up? Do they remember that he was arrested for assault at Citi Field following a game for allegedly beating up his girlfriend’s father, suffering a season-ending thumb injury in the process? That one’s kind of unforgettable, don’t you think? Do they remember how desperate Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was to unload his contract that he shipped him to the Milwaukee Brewers for diminutive reliever Daniel Herrera and Florida State League stud Adrian Rosario? Needless to say, Rodriguez has quite a storied history with the Mets, most of it for all the wrong reasons.
Well, after that lovely trip down memory lane, Mets fans might have to prepare for more, as Rodriguez is on a list of relievers the Mets are considering, as they look up to bolster their bullpen heading into spring training. But as desperate as the Mets are to sure up their bullpen and find someone that can compete with incumbent closer Frank Francisco, they would be crazy to bring Rodriguez back to Citi Field.
Crazy as it may sound, the notion of bringing back K-Rod is still rather temping. He is by no means the pitcher he was when he dominated as a member of the Anaheim Angels between 2005 and 2008, but he remains a legitimate option to pitch in the late innings of games. Even at age 31, despite recording a career-high ERA of 4.38 last year, Rodriguez is not yet over the hill, as he is still capable of striking out a batter per inning, which means he is capable of getting an out when he really needs it. He’s the dominant force he once was, but for a team like the Mets that has such little confidence in the pitchers they currently have in the back end of their bullpen, Rodriguez is certainly an intriguing free agent.
But while it may be easy to see why signing Rodriguez is such an attractive option for the Mets, surely they can find a comparable pitcher to assist their bullpen that doesn’t include all the baggage that Rodriguez brings with him, especially if it means coming back to New York, the site of so many of his low moments, both on and off the field. In the end, even a strikeout per inning and an ERA in the high threes may not be enough to justify a return to New York for Rodriguez. Perhaps, the Mets are better off saying thanks, but no thanks to old K-Rod and move on to the next guy.