Francisco Rodriguez Trade: New York Mets' Top 5 Closer Nominees to Replace K-Rod
K-Rod is currently on pace to surpass the 55 games finished clause in his contract, and if he does, it’ll trigger a $17.5 million vesting options, something the Mets shouldn’t be too fond of paying, especially if the hope of resigning Jose Reyes is still there (And I hope it is.).
Rodriguez is currently No. 2 on Jon Heyman’s list of pitchers most likely to be dealt at the deadline, saying, “The Mets are extremely likely to move the still-productive closer, but the one big question is whether any team looking for a closer will take him with that option alive.”
This being the case, if the Mets find a potential deal that would be worthwhile enough to let go of K-Rod, the closer has already told the team he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause saying, "If I am going to be traded, obviously I want the opportunity to close out games, but if it's going to be good teams like the Yankees or the Rays, and it's going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out."
The more that this occasion seems to be a reality in the near future, the more thought Mets manager Terry Collins will need to put into finding K-Rod’s eventual successor.
Logic says that the Mets should fill the hole with an in-house candidate, and assuming that reasoning is true, here are the top five in-house nominees to replace Francisco Rodriguez when and if he gets traded at the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline.
5. Manny Acosta
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Brought up earlier this month to give struggling reliever Mike O’Conner time to sort through his troubles in the minors, Manny Acosta has done anything but replicate his minor league success this season with the big squad.
Upon his promotion, Acosta was 1-0 with four saves and a 1.77 ERA in 20 games with Triple-A Buffalo in 2011. Pretty promising numbers.
However, in 5.2 innings spanning six appearances for the Mets, Acosta has given up eight hits, five earned runs, two homers and has an ERA barely under 8.00.
While Acosta won’t be the clear-cut choice any time soon, if Collins goes with a closer by committee platoon in the ninth, Acosta name could be thrown into the mix.
4. D.J. Carrasco
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That walk-off balk is still fresh in my mind, but D.J. Carrasco is a considerable asset to the Mets bullpen and could potentially get the nod if and when K-Rod departs.
Carrasco, recently recalled after a minor-league stint to work on his consistency, is the long-man out of the Mets bullpen, but could spend time in the ninth inning role, as he continues to improve upon his 5.94 ERA and live up to the two year, $2.4 million contract he signed prior to the 2011 season.
With Taylor Buchholz still feeling lingering effects from a sore shoulder, Carrasco may be best suited to continue as a middle reliever/long man, but as the Mets franchise may face some change at the 2011 Trade Deadline, Carrasco’s use out of the bullpen may also come to change.
3. Bobby Parnell
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Looking back at Bobby Parnell’s 2010 season, it was safe to say that the Mets had found their future closer.
In 35 innings a year ago, Parnell posted a 2.83 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a sweltering 4.125 K/BB, which were all career-bests.
Fast-forward to 2011, and as Parnell tries to duplicate the success from the previous season, one glaring weakness is his inability to control his pitches and give up an uncommon walk.
This year, he has already matched the total number of walks from 2010 (eight), and after his first eight outings of shaky ball, Parnell complained of numbness in his thumb that ended with a rehab trip to the minors.
After returning to the major league team; however, the month of June has been pleasant to Parnell and he has been simply a joy to watch.
In nine innings, Parnell has only allowed one run and two walks while striking out 11 and accumulating an even 1.00 ERA.
If Parnell can keep his struggles out of sight, out of mind, he could once again be the favorite for the future closer's role and shoot to the top of a list like this.
2. Jason Isringhausen
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Picture this: If and when Francisco is traded, Jason Isringhausen will be given the opportunity to close games for the New York Mets.
Only seven career saves away from 300, Izzy will be given the opportunity to save his 300th game with the same club he got his first save with over a dozen years ago.
That’s something special.
Izzy stated to David Waldstein of the New York Times, “That’s my goal—to get 300.”
And that’s a great goal to have, especially when given the opportunity to succeed.
Isringhausen has pitched great in 2011, even when many thought he was done with the game for good.
Posting a sub-.3.00 ERA and 21 strikeouts as the eighth inning man, Izzy will be offered the ninth inning role, and there is no doubt from anyone within the organization that he will see 300 sometime soon.
1. Pedro Beato
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As a high-profile player like K-Rod is on his way out, it seems only fitting that in the midst of huge “Carl Crawford”-type deals, the Mets take a flyer on a former Rule V Draft pick with major league-ready stuff.
Pedro Beato has all the makings to be a bona fide stud if given the opportunity to close games for the Mets after Rodriguez’s departure.
He has a starter’s repertoire, featuring a fastball averaging over 93 mph, a sinker, slider and a curveball all coming from the same release point on Beato’s 6’4”, 220 lbs. frame.
So far this season, Beato’s been nothing short of amazing, with a few understandable rookie speed bumps along the way.
Having pitched in 33 professional innings, Beato has mustered 20 strikeouts to 11 walks while keeping his ERA to a reasonable 3.55 and a 1.06 WHIP.
With a 49 percent ground-ball rate and swing and miss-type pitches, Beato has been a pleasant surprise to watch and holds even more promise as the New York Mets closer of the future.