Trade K-Rod NOW

The stars seem to be aligning for a trade of Francisco Rodriguez to the Yankees. Regardless of where the Mets stand in the hunt for a playoff spot, I say the Mets should make this trade as soon as they can — right now would be just fine.

The Daily News reported on Friday that K-Rod would be open to being traded to a team in a set-up role.

“If I am going to be traded, obviously I want the opportunity to close out games, but if it’s going to be good teams like the Yankees or the Rays, and it’s going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out,” Rodriguez told the paper.

Athletics Mets BaseballHe said he has a no-trade clause to ten teams, but it shouldn’t be an issue because “honestly I don’t even know what (teams) are on the no-trade clause, I haven’t even been asked about that yet. I mean I would definitely love to stay here, but I have to be open to every possibility out there right now.”

These comments come a day after Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the News he would have no problem making a deal with the Mets.

“I’ve done three deals with them and they were all pretty big,” Cashman said. “(Armando) Benitez was a big name. (Robin) Ventura for David Justice was kind of big deal, our need for their need.”

The third trade was sending Mike Stanton back to the Yankees for Felix Heredia.

“But it’s complicated because … no one wants to make a mistake in their own backyard,” he added. ” No one’s going to make that type of mistake too easily. The only way you would typically line up to do something is if the opposing side is so motivated to move whatever they’ve got.”

I would say the Mets are motivated — they would not have to pay K-Rod $17.5 million next season if that 55-games finished vesting option kicks in. Plus, they could avoid the late season drama of whether they will allow him to reach that number.

The Mets payroll will be limited in 2012 — Sandy Alderson has said he expects it to be no higher than $120 million, although I suspect it will be closer to $100 million. Imagine if they couldn’t sign Jose Reyes because they had to pay a closer $17.5 million? That would be a travesty.

As for the Yankees, they desperately need an eighth inning guy — Rafael Soriano is injured and was terrible when he was healthy. Joba Chamberlain is done for the year. K-Rod would be perfect. He would only cost the cash-laden Bombers around $6 million for the rest of the season plus next year’s $3.5 million buyout, to which the Mets would likely have to partly contribute.

So trade K-Rod now. It might hurt the Mets in the short term, but it is what this franchise needs in the long term, and that’s what really matters right now.

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