Unfounded rumors are circulating that the New York Mets will start limiting how much they will use closer Francisco Rodriguez to prevent the team from having to pay the pitcher $17.5 million next season.
The terms of his contract dictate that if he finishes 55 games this season, the option kicks in. Rodriguez currently has 25 finishes, which puts him on track to finish 61 games this season.
The Mets haven't used him since he pitched a scoreless inning and a third on Thursday in Milwaukee.
Mets skipper Terry Collins told the New York Post he simply hasn't found a spot to use Rodriguez since Thursday--and he's been looking. Nobody has come and said, 'Why did you use him?' or 'You can't use him or shouldn't use him,' said Collins. He's helping us win games. I just manage the team. I try to figure out how to win a game and who to use to win that game.
No matter what Collins says, observers will be watching to see if K-Rod is skipped in save situations. If he is, people will suspect that the Mets' financial situation is affecting the decision not to use him. The Mets could use the money.
Team owners have to be hearing the loud chorus--not just in New York but among national media--that the Mets must find a way to keep Jose Reyes when his contract expires at the end of the season. The live-wire shortstop is batting an MLB-best .342 with a .910 OPS and leads the majors in triples (11) and is third in stolen bases (20). But even if they save Rodriguez's $17.5 million, can the Mets afford Reyes, who will undoubtedly be rewarded with a large, long contract? And who will close for the Mets? The team doesn't seem to have any internal candidates for the job.