New York Yankees: Should They Make a Strong Pursuit for Francisco Rodriguez?
Yet they are still only two games behind in the division and very much alive in the playoff hunt.
But, as we all learned yesterday, the Yankees have major injury problems, especially in the bullpen.
Joba Chamberlain will need Tommy John Surgery in his right arm to repair a torn ligament and will miss the rest of the 2011 season.
Chamberlain joins Damaso Marte, Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano as Yankee relievers who are all on the disabled list right now.
Yesterday, we were all trying to figure out what the Yankees would do now that the bullpen is virtually depleted.
Right now, Mariano Rivera and David Robertson are the only two relievers in there that are consistent enough to be used.
Luis Ayala, Lance Pendelton, Boone Logan, Jeff Marquez, Amauri Sanit? Not so much.
Now when Hector Noesi is eligible to be called back up, I expect him to be back, and he's proven that he can get people out in the big leagues.
But even that is not enough. The bottom line is simple: the Yankees need to make a move. They need to make a few moves.
Should the Yankees make a trade for Francisco Rodriguez?
John Harper of the New York Post made a very bold suggestion, and it's one that makes sense right now.
A few weeks ago, when Soriano went down and some wondered if he would be shut down for the season, I pondered K-Rod's name, but at first I was against it.
Now, with Joba out for the season, I'm not so against it anymore.
The Mets are 30-32 and in fourth place of the N.L. East division. Technically, they are still in the thick of the playoff chase. But does anyone really expect the Mets to make a legitimate run for the postseason? Didn't think so.
They are in the beginning stages of rebuilding a team that Omar Minaya destroyed and Sandy Alderson is trying to fix.
The Mets trading K-Rod makes a ton of sense.
He's a free agent after 2011. He gets a bonus for games finished and has a vesting option for 2012 that the Mets would love to not pay. And he makes a lot of money that the Mets would like to save.
K-Rod right now is 1-2 with a 2.90 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 18 saves in 31 innings so far. He's had a good year so far, but his services would be better used on a team that is in playoff contention.
The Mets wouldn't be getting prospects like Jesus Montero or Manny Banuelos back in a deal for a rental—there's just no way.
But lets face it, the Mets are strapped for cash; the Yankees have a ton of it; and they now are in super need for relievers.
This trade isn't just going to happen over the weekend, maybe not even until July 31st. The Mets are still, technically, in contention and doing their best to win games.
And for the next month, Brian Cashman will look at every possible angle and corner to look for relievers, whether it's in the minors or from other teams.
Hey, if Wood is healthy in July and the Cubs are out of the race (25-36, 11.5 games out of first), Wood is a really good name to look into as well.
But lets get back to K-Rod here.
Would K-Rod be open to setting up for the greatest closer of all time? I would think so.
When he came up in the majors in 2002 with the Angels, he was the setup man for Troy Percival. K-Rod was 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA in the 2002 playoffs for the Angels that went on to win the World Series that year.
As a rookie, he established himself as a big-time reliever and didn't take over the full-time closer role until 2005 for the Angels and stayed in that role until 2008 after bolting for the Mets in 2009.
Some might wonder how he would deal with pitching for the Yankees.
Does he have the temper to deal with the pressure of pitching for the Yankees?
Now, if you didn't know this already, he does have a huge temper. He got into a shouting match with former Yankees reliever Brian Bruney after they exchanged words through the media, then got in each others faces.
He argued with former Mets assistant GM Tony Bernazard on the team bus. (Bernazard was known for provoking players and people into fights and eventually got fired, which many felt was justified.)
Last summer, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend's father after he reportedly made derogatory comments about K-Rod's mother.
During the altercation, K-Rod tore a ligament in his thumb of his throwing arm, which required surgery and forced him to miss the rest of the season.
So far, he hasn't had anymore incidents, at least that we know of, and he's been behaving himself.
But temper aside, K-Rod is a big game pitcher who can thrive in big game situations.
Sure, he will give up hits and put runners on. But he can get people out and strike people out to end games.
It's why the Mets forked over a three-year, $37 million deal to him back in 2009.
It's also why he'll likely get another decent contract from someone after the 2011 season when he hits free agency again.
We heard a few weeks back that K-Rod was open to a trade, even to be a setup man, as long as the team was open to possibly giving him a contract extension.
I don't know if that would apply to the Yankees, considering the Yankees have Rivera under contract for another year and Soriano for another two (pending he doesn't opt out), but hey, you never know.
One thing is for sure, the Mets aren't bringing K-Rod back for 2012, and they want no part of the vesting option for completing 55 games in 2011, so a trade is likely.
Is it likely to the Yankees? It makes sense right now for them to do it.
You saw them in the series against Boston this past week.
Hell, you saw them in the first nine games against Boston this year, ending up 1-8 in three series and 0-6 at home.
If the Yankees want to contend, they need to revamp the bullpen for the second half.
K-Rod is an obvious candidate and answer given his situation with the Mets.
But, would the Yankees make a deal for him?
Should they make a deal for him?
The Yankees hot stove is getting even hotter as the summer is just beginning. Stay tuned.
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