2010 Mets Player Outlook: Francisco Rodriguez

Mets ParadiseCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2010

CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Francisco Rodriguez #75 of the New York Mets pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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Remember when J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez were going to be the best setup man/closer combination in baseball? The Mets went from no closer in 2008 to having two in 2009. But things really didn’t work out for the Mets with these players last season. Putz’s season ended after he pitched in only 29 games and Rodriguez put up the worst ERA of his career.

So what happened? Why was Frankie so off? Could it be because he just lost his motivation due to the team’s poor performance. Could Frankie have been pitching injured? Maybe he just couldn’t recover after Castillo’s dropped ball catastrophe. Was he having trouble adjusting to New York? Or maybe he just had an off year.

Frankie finished the year 3-6 with a 3.71 ERA, converted 35 of 42 save opportunities, 73 K’s and 38 BB. All of these numbers were a drop from his record setting year in 2008, when he recorded 62 saves.

So now Spring Training has started and Frankie goes to Hollywood… I mean, Frankie comes to Port St. Lucie, but he’s not pitching with the team. What happened? Mets fans assumed the worst of course, he’s out of the season, at least. Relax (…get it… the song…Frankie Goes To Holly… never mind). Turns out Frankie just had the worst case of pink eye in Mets Spring Training history, and couldn’t have even been around his teammates. So to stay in shape he threw with his brother and spent time with his family. Frankie thought this was so nice of them that he decided to give them his pink eye too. Don’t say Frankie never did anything for you.

But now there are reports that the evil has left his body and he has thrown a couple of bullpen session and should be ready to get into some Spring Training games by early next week.

Bill James is very high on Frankie for the 2010 season. He predicts he’ll go 4-3 with a 2.67 ERA, 42 saves and an increase in strikeouts from 2009. Yes, please. I actually think his numbers will be slightly worse. 2.86 ERA, 39 saves, and 75 strikeouts.

I believe Frankie’s success this season will come down to everyone else staying healthy, for the large part. This can be said for the entire success of the team.

After spending a year in New York and having a better and healthier team for 2010, Frankie will have a better season. I don’t think the pink eye will effect him in terms of starting the season either. Frankie should be ready for Opening Day. Kiko Calero will be as well, who will most likely be the Mets setup man.

The closer for any team is very important and Frankie is no exception. It looks like the Mets bullpen is going to be the strength of this team. Frankie needs to have a good year to hold down this team and the bullpen. The problem last year was his performance after the All-Star break when he posted a 6.75 ERA. In the first half he had a 1.90 ERA. So, let’s have that first half performance for the whole year in 2010. Can you do that for us Frankie? Good talk, see you out there.