Handling K-Rod

When Terry Collins said during spring training that Sandy Alderson did not put any restrictions on how he could use Francisco Rodriguez, did anybody believe him? Didn’t we all think Alderson ordered Collins to only use K-Rod in save situations in order to keep him from finishing 55 games and triggering his $17.5 million option? Well, it appears we were all wrong.

*May 07 - 00:05*Once again on Sunday, Collins brought in Rodriguez in a non-save situation with the Mets up 8-3. Forget for a moment that he almost blew the game. This is around the fifth time that K-Rod finished a game that he didn’t necessarily have to finish.

I wrote back in January that Collins would never use K-Rod in such situations. Man, was I wrong.

I wonder what Alderson’s thinking is. Perhaps he is supremely confident that he will deal Rodriguez to a team by the trade deadline that will use him as a set-up guy, or a team desperate for a closer down the stretch. Or maybe he is sure he can trade him after the season, even if the option does vest.

Sources say the Mets don’t look at it as a $17.5 million option; since they are on the hook for a $3.5 million buyout, they look at the contract as a $14 million deal. So maybe Alderson thinks he can deal K-Rod and throw in around $6 million, leaving the new team to pay $11.5 million — not too much for a one-year commitment to a top closer.

Then let’s say the Mets made Bobby Parnell the closer and pay him $1 million. In effect the Mets would be paying $7 million for a closer in 2012 (Parnell’s $1 plus the $6 million sent away in the trade). It’s lousy to pay that much money for someone not playing for the team, but it results in a net saving of $10.5 million.

Either way, the Players Association will likely have no beef with the Mets over their handling of Rodriguez. You can be sure it is watching this closely.

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