Today in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the New York Mets played an exhibition game against the Venezuelan National Team, as the Venezuelans prepare to play in the World Baseball Classic. While there, one of Venezuela’s pitchers, former Met and current MLB free agent Francisco Rodriguez, pontificated on a possible return to the Mets this season. The once great closer known as K-Rod cited his failure during his first stint with the Mets as a reason to return and get some redemption. Of course, as a free agent in the first week of March, Rodriguez would probably welcome an opportunity to join any team following the WBC. But since Rodriguez singled out the Mets specifically as a possible destination, it’s worth pondering if the Mets feel the same way.
Rodriguez does fit the profile of relievers that the Mets have added for this season: an aging veteran that’s past his prime and has a lot to prove. It’s also getting more and more likely that incumbent closer Frank Francisco has been all but missing this spring and doesn’t appear to be on pace to be on the active roster on opening day, so there should be an open spot for Rodriguez. But that doesn’t mean that the Mets should consider bringing K-Rod back to flushing.
New York is a tough city to play in, and the Mets have a restless fan base, which doesn’t make it any easier; and if Rodriguez couldn’t handle it the first time without getting into a slew of trouble, both on and off the field, then what makes him think it would work out for him this time. It’s a past that is best forgotten, and if Rodriguez were to return to New York, it’s a past that would have to get dug up, which wouldn’t be good for anybody involved. Whatever value Rodriguez could give to the Mets on the field wouldn’t outweigh the distraction he would bring. So even if K-Rod were willing to return, the Mets should just say no.