Sept. 24, 2008: Francisco Rodriguez notches his single-season-record-setting 62nd save.
Dec. 10, 2008: New York Mets ink K-Rod to a three-year, $37 million contract.
Coming off the best year a closer has ever had, Mets fans felt that the transition from Billy Wagner was going to be seamless.
Unfortunately, the 2009 season was far from what the fans expected from Rodriguez.
In his first season with the Mets, K-Rod's ERA skyrocketed, his WHIP increased and strikeouts per nine innings dipped and saves dropped. His velocity was down which left the organization and media wondering if the Angels had driven Rodriguez into the ground in 2008.
After what seemed to be a bounce back year in 2010, Rodriguez fell once again out of favor with the Mets brass by getting into altercations with bullpen coach Randy Niemann and his father in-law, Carlos Pena.
Unfortunately for the Mets, the "cardiac kid" is back for his third season in Queens. His love for closing games in the most stressful way possible is what may lose him millions.
The contract signed in 2008 is guaranteed for three years, but includes a 2012 option that K-Rod is in full control of.
Here are the three provisions:
Will K-Rod make it to 55 games finished?
1. 55 games finished in 2011.
2. 100 games finished in 2010-11.
3. Doctors declare Rodriguez healthy after 2011.
If these provisions are met, K-Rod will automatically earn his $17.5 million and live to fight another day with the Mets.
This would be disaster for the Mets in part because he would become the highest paid closer ever and also because the Mets are already cash-strapped due to the Madoff scandal.
So far in 2011, we have seen Rodriguez once and it ended in classic K-Rod fashion: 1 ER, 3H, 1 BB and a blown save.
Luckily, the Mets were in a position to pinch hit for Rodriguez and go on to win, thus he did not finish the game.
For Mets fans, we can only hope that K-Rod has a good season, but ends with 54 games-finished.