It's almost official. Pending a physical, Francisco Rodriguez will become the new stopper at the back of the bullpen in Queens.
This is a huge deal for the Mets, as well as for their division and National League rivals. K-Rod is exactly the type of player that will provide the Mets and their fans with some relief at the end of games.
This is the second year in a row that the Mets have made a major deal for a top-flight pitcher. Last winter, Johan Santana was the $137 million man. Compared to that, K-Rod was a steal.
Not only was Omar Minaya able to lock up Rodriguez for about half of what he initially asked, he managed to only commit to him for three years with an option on the fourth. This means that if K-Rod's effectiveness begins to decline, the club won't be stuck with him.
Emotionally, Francisco is the spark plug that the bedraggled bullpen needs.
In the everyday lineup, Jose Reyes provides that energy. However, Reyes spends no time deep in the bullpen beyond the outfield fence.
K-Rod is emotional, high energy, and passionate. He should do wonders to get the other relievers charged up to go out and hold leads in the seventh and eighth innings, before he can come on to hopefully blow away the opposing hitters in the ninth.
Clearly, the Mets needed a closer. Last season's disappointment fell squarely on the shoulders of the many men who tried to close games—Aaron Heilman, Luis Ayala, Scott Schoeneweis, etc.
So long as K-Rod remains healthy, he should be a dependable force that can be trusted to save the game at least 85-90 percent of the time.
Of course, one closer doesn't improve the rest of the bullpen or fix the need for at least two more starters, but it seals up the search for a closer and makes the Mets considerably better come opening day.
Watch out, Phillies! You might have Brad Lidge, but we have Francisco Rodriguez!
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