"Amazin'" Omar Minaya Close To Acquiring First-Class Closer

Matt ClementeContributor IDecember 9, 2008

MLBcom confirms reports that the New York Mets are “on the brink” of signing free agent relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. Sources say it is possible that a deal will be worked out “within the next 24 hours.”

Commenting on the progress of talks with the Mets, Rodriguez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, told the New York Post late Monday night, "I am more optimistic than I have ever been." 

Kinzer’s remark  are a reversal from reports from FoxSports.com  that Mets general manager Omar Minaya, who had met with K-Rod Sunday night, was not confident that the former Los Angeles Angles fireballer was going to accept latest offer he had made.

SI.com estimates that if an agreement can be reached, it will be in the order of $37 million for three years.

In addition, FoxSports.com writer Ken Rosenthal reports that there may be an option for a fourth year, bringing the total salary upwards of $50 million. Either way, the contract would be closer to sub-$24 million, two year deal that The New York Daily News reported the Mets' initially offered than the five-year, $75 million one Kinzer went into the offseason looking for. 

Concessions by K-Rod, who willing turning 27 next month and last year had a record setting 62 saves, are widely being attributed to an unusually deep closer market, uncharacteristically patient Omar Minaya, and, unfortunately, the dismal US economy.

If the Mets do land Rodriguez, it will fill the void of a consistent stopper left by Billy Wagner when he went down with an elbow injury in September that cost him the rest of the season and will cost him all of next season.

The Mets' top priority in the offseason is to add a dependable fireman to end games in Shea and anchor their bullpen, which last year largely contributed setting their playoff hopes ablaze last season.