The Mets revealed Monday that embattled closer Francisco Rodriguez tore a ligament in his right thumb them while allegedly slugging his girlfriend’s father last week at Citi Field. If surgery is required, K-Rod is likely lost for the year. And he could be done for good — the Mets are reportedly looking into voiding his contract over all of this.
After pitching in pain on Saturday, he was examined Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Doctors recommended surgery, but no final decision has been made. However, his agent Paul Kinzer told a Venezuelan newspaper, “Frankie is going to have surgery.”
“You can make the assumption that the injury resulted from the incident last week,” a Mets official said. That is significant, because if K-Rod did indeed hurt himself in the alleged attack, he could forfeit his salary for the rest of the season since the injury occurred during a non-baseball event.
And it could cost him even more. The official told ESPNNewYork.com the Mets will investigate voiding Rodriguez’s contract. “We will look into everything,” he said.
Rodriguez is owed $11.5 million in 2011 and has a vesting option for 2012 at a whopping $17.5 million that will kick in if he finishes 55 games next season.
Kinzer said that discussion is for another day. “We are focused on that (the surgery) right now. We will address the other issues later.”
From a strictly baseball point of view, I’m not sure voiding his contract would be the best thing for the Mets. On one hand, that $11.5 million could be used on much-needed starting pitching or a slugging outfielder. But who replaces K-Rod as the closer? None of the Mets relievers has stepped up to show they are ready for the job. $11.5 million for an elite closer is not bad. That possible $17.5 million the following season, though, is a payroll-buster.
As far as the trade front, there are rumblings out of Boston that Jonathan Papelbon could be made available. He would probably cost more than $11.5 million, plus he would probably not sign a long-term contract, either. He has gone on record that he wants to test free agency. I would do a Carlos Beltran-Pabelbon swap in a second. That would get the Mets out from under Beltran’s $20 million salary for next season and begin the badly-needed remake of the club.
The worst part of this story is that it appears the Mets will call up Sean Green to replace Rodriguez. What, they couldn’t find a box of rocks or some hobo to do the job instead?