Tag:Francisco Rodriguez
Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:51 pm
 

K-Rod open to setting up Rivera

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Francisco RodriguezYesterday when asked about Jose Reyes, Yankees general manager Brain Cashman said he already had a shortstop and was more interested in bullpen help. Well, maybe the Mets can help him out there, too.

While Francisco Rodriguez can block trades to 10 teams, the Mets closer said he'd change teams -- and roles -- if he was moved to a contender.

"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," Rodriguez told the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert.

Rodriguez noted he doesn't know which teams are on his no-trade list and would prefer to stay with the Mets.

Rodriguez is in the third year of a three-year deal worth $37 million. He has a vesting option for 2012 worth $17.5 million this season if he finishes 55 games. He has finished 28 games with 20 saves so far this season. 

The Yankees have already lost setup man Joba Chamerlain for the season and also have another former closer, Rafael Soriano, on the disabled list. The team could certainly use a bridge to Mariano Rivera.

The Rays have Kyle Farnsworth closing right now. The 35-year-old right-hander has had a very good firs half of the season, wracking up 15 saves with a 2.17 ERA in 33 appearances, walking just two while striking out 20 in 29 innings.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Beltran enters rumor mill with other Mets

By Matt Snyder

Not surprisingly, the trade rumors are beginning build up all around baseball as we enter June and surpass the 1/3 mark of the season. Even less surprising is how often the New York Mets are involved in the rumors, what with their payroll issues and being more than eight games out in the tough NL East already.

While there obviously might be more players included in the rumors by the end of July, things will likely center around four big-name guys. A while back, I said we should brace for "The Summer of Reyes." Of course, Jose Reyes has been playing so well, there are some calling for the Mets to give him a nice-sized contract and instead trade David Wright. Don't expect to stop hearing about Francisco Rodriguez being moved to someone for setup help, but CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler makes a good case why it won't happen. Now, let us enter Carlos Beltran into the rumor mill.

In fact, Beltran is the most likely Mets player to be traded by the July 31st trade deadline, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

It makes sense, because Beltran is a free agent after the season. Morosi also mentions a clause in Beltran's contract that guards against the Mets receiving draft-pick compensation should he walk as a free agent -- meaning: If Beltran leaves as a free agent, the Mets get nothing back.

Thus, Beltran fits the mold of a rental quite well, considering he's also proven that he's healthy enough to swing the bat with authority again. Entering Wednesday, Beltran is hitting .279 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBI, 25 runs and an .875 OPS.

Oh, and then there's the whole thing about Mets owner Fred Wilpon talking about what a big mistake the Beltran contract was. With that in mind, don't expect any resistance to a trade from Beltran, even though he's a 10-and-5 guy.

Beltran does make about $3 million per month, so the Mets might have to pick up some of the tab in order to move him, but there's probably a deal attractive enough for all parties involved to help make that happen.

Regardless of what actually will happen, it's going to be a fun rumor season as always. And we won't be able to ignore the Mets.

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Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 10:43 am
 

Pepper: Assessing chances of a K-Rod trade



By Evan Brunell

K-ROD TRADEABLE? For a while now, Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option has been seen as a major roadblock to any trade.

Rodriguez is a fine closer, but a $17.5 million figure for a closer is rather exorbitant, especially in recent years as the market for closers has appeared to plateau. K-Rod needs to finish at least 55 games for that option to vest, and he's at 18 through almost two full months. That puts him on pace to clear the threshold by the end of the year for New York, unless the Mets trade him first.

While Rodriguez could be traded to a setup role which would take care of that pesky games-finished requirement, reporter Andy Martino writes that his value as a closer may not be half-bad after all. He cites Rodriguez's dominant on-field play with his new personality off it, with Rodriguez demonstrating remorse for previous actions. It could be a good move for a team comfortable with trading for K-Rod to head up the ninth. It also helps that Rodriguez has expressed a willingness to tear up his current option and renegotiate a new deal.

Lost in this article is the bottom line: Rodriguez won't negotiate away his vesting option unless he stands to benefit by getting an extended contract from the team dealing for him. Helping matters is that K-Rod is willing to consider any team, even one of the 10 teams that are currently blocked thanks to a no-trade clause. But the bottom line remains: there's no reason for Rodriguez to tear up his 2012 option if he doesn't get something out of it. That kind of money over one season is well worth it to Rodriguez, who could then go get another big-money deal after 2012.

But working in favor of the Mets is Rodriguez's $3.5 million buyout. If New York agrees to fund the buyout -- which it must pay regardless of the option vesting -- other teams may change their perception of Rodriguez's value. Instead of digging into their pockets in free agency to sign the likes of Heath Bell and Jonathan Papebon, a team could address the K-Rod issue by having the Mets pick up $3.5 million at the trade deadline, giving the acquiring team one-and-a-half years of Rodriguez at a 2012 price of $14 million. Still hefty, but not outlandish and worth the price of doing business on a short deal. And as we've learned, short deals for closers is a smart route to go. (New York Daily News)

BOBBLEHEAD CURSE
: Sure, Omar Minaya was a pretty bad GM in New York and now Fred Wilpon is on a media blitz designed to tell his side of the story but is only complicating things more. And yet, what might be to blame are bobbleheads, part of a yearly giveaway. Previous bobblehead players have ended up injured or ineffective after garnering the honor. This year's recipient? Ike Davis, currently on the DL. (New York Times)

NO TROUT
: How tired do you think manager Mike Scioscia is of answering questions about 19-year-old prodigy Mike Trout? He continued to deflect any speculation that Trout would be called to the majors despite tearing up the minors and seeing L.A. limp along in left field with Alexi Amarista and Reggie Willits, although he did crack the door open for a promotion in a month. "I think that's a huge risk to take with a player with his upside," Scioscia said. "We see the growth in Mike. He's made an incredible amount of progress from last year to now. He's bridging that gap. Maybe in a month, this would be a different conversation, but right now, there's some growth he needs to be ready for that challenge of the major leagues." (Los Angeles Times)

WELLS ON MEND
: Angels left fielder Vernon Wells made progress in his return from a groin strain. He's not ahead of schedule, but underwent light agility drills and came away without complaint. (Los Angeles Times)

MY TURN: Mike Fontenot knows what groin strains feel like -- he just suffered one Thursday night that will probably get him on the 15-day DL. That's bad news for S.F., which already had a tattered left side of the infield. (San Francisco Chronicle)

RUNNER'S LUCK: The Giants also saw Darren Ford hobbled by a lateral sprain on his left ankle that will likely see the pinch-runner hit the DL. Bruce Bochy said there it would be "a longshot" for Brandon Belt to replace Ford on the roster. More likely is Ryan Rohlinger or Travis Ishikawa. (San Jose Mercury News)

STANTON'S BOMBS: Florida Marlins sluggger Mike Stanton is an attraction during batting practice these days. In San Francisco he drew applause from Giants fans as he launched home runs, including a standing ovation for a batting practice moonshot that went more than 500 feet. The applause quickly dissipated when he carried his home-run swing over into the game. (Palm Beach Post)

CASH IN THE BULLPEN
: When Andrew Cashner returns from his injury, bet on him moving into the bullpen. "When you miss a few months with an arm injury you cannot just go right back to pitching six innings or more when you return so I would think that he would be in the pen when he does come back this season," Cubs manager Jim Hendry said. If true, the Cubs are going to have to find another starting pitcher somewhere. They're so close in getting Casey Coleman out of the rotation, but still have Doug Davis to contend with, with only Coleman as depth. (CSNChicago.com)

SIZEMORE NEAR: Grady Sizemore has come through his rehab work so nicely that he may actually be activated the first game he is eligible for, which is Friday. His replacement on the major-league roster, Ezequiel Carrera, was seen shaking hands with teammates. Sizemore ran the bases prior to Wednesday's game and came through with no issues, putting him on track to be activated for the weekend series. (MLB.com)

BAD STEW: Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart pulled his hamstring in a game in Triple-A on Wednesday, so it looks like he will be out of action for a couple of weeks. Just another bad day in a line of bad days for Stewart this season. (Denver Post)

NO. 2: With the Mariners a surprising game under .500 and a weekend series with the Yankees coming up, Seattle needs to find a way to boost its offense if they hope to come away with a series win. How about batting Brendan Ryan, in the midst of a hot month, second in the order? (Seattle Times)

THOLE DIVE: In this day and age, if you mess up, you can bet everyone will soon be giggling at a .GIF of it. Josh Thole is no exception. (SB Nation)

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 11:02 am
 

Pepper: Brian Fuentes criticizes manager Geren



By Evan Brunell

FUENTES BLOWS UP: Brian Fuentes, the Athletics closer, had some strong words for manager Bob Geren after losing his seventh game of the year. He's now blown five of seven tie games and Fuentes isn't happy about the skipper's communication skills, saying Geren has handled his communication with the reliever poorly.

"There’s just no communication," Fuentes says. "Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven’t stretched, I haven’t prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game  -- which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed."

Fuentes really shouldn't be complaining about being brought in during a tie game on the road. The general rule of thumb is that you deploy your closer with a tie at home or lead on the road, but that doesn't mean everyone has to follow that tenet -- not to mention that rule of thumb is a pretty weak one. You bring in your best reliever for the situation that demands it most, end of story.

That aside, it appears as if Geren doesn't have the right pulse on Fuentes -- or maybe even the bullpen as a whole. Fuentes says it's difficult to adhere to what appears to be a random schedule, instead of being afforded time to stretch and prepare for coming into the game in the eighth or ninth. Again, we're seeing "established" rules for closers with no reason for being established causing problems. In Fuentes' defense, however, he didn't trailblaze these established rules -- he's just following them and it's easy to see how he thinks they're a valuable part of his preparation. From the manager's perspective, though, Fuentes may have very well been the best choice to come into the seventh inning. The problem is when you don't communicate effectively.

"I thought he misspoke," Fuentes said of when he first learned Geren wanted him in the game in the seventh. "I thought it was some sort of miscommunication, but he said, ‘No, you’re up,’ so I got up and cranked it up. You can’t try to guess along with them. Very unpredictable."

Fuentes adds that this hasn't been a situation that's been slowly getting worse; rather, it's fairly recent and Fuentes first became displeased when Oakland traveled to San Francisco this past weekend. Or maybe it's because Fuentes has a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 May innings.

"I think the games in San Francisco were some unorthodox managing," he noted. "I thought it was maybe the National league thing, that maybe that had something to do with it, but [Monday] was pretty unbelievable."

Just don't expect Fuentes to be the one to initiate communication. He's going to leave that up to Geren.

"I can’t predict the future. If he decides to take that step, then there will be communication. If not, I’ll make sure I’m ready from the first." (MLB.com)

LOSING CONFIDENCE: Wins and losses don't matter from an evaluation perspective, that much is clear. But for a pitcher, it can be pretty demoralizing to see an 0-7 mark next to his name, like John Danks is dealing with despite a 4.34 ERA that is plenty good enough to keep him in the rotation, as manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It’s getting harder and harder," Danks said. "That's the blunt truth. But like I said, it doesn’t do me any good to sit and dwell on it or feel sorry for myself. I got to come in ready to work and have myself ready for my next strart. That’s how I’ll go about it." (Chicago Tribune)

RANDY POFFO, BASEBALL PLAYER: Before "Macho Man" Randy Savage became a sensation in the wrestling world, he was an aspiring baseball player with a tremendous work ethic who just didn't have the talent to go beyond Class A. But that didn't stop Savage, whose real name was Randy Poffo, from trying. (Sports Illustrated)

SAVAGE HOMER: When Brewers GM Doug Melvin heard that Savage had died, it took him a while to figure out that Savage was the same Poffo who played in the minor leagues. "I think he hit a homer off me," Melvin said, hearkening back to 1972 when the two would have been on opposing rookie-ball teams. Unfortunately, Melvin was unable to verify this, as he could not find boxscores. (MLB.com)

MOVING ON: It's hard to, but Francisco Rodriguez is trying to move on from the much-publicized altercation with his ex-girlfriend's father last season. Rodriguez is off to a fantastic start as closer and appears to have made major strides mentally. (New York Daily News)

MANAGING FOR THE FANS: In case it's not clear for you just yet, Jim Leyland manages for the fans, not with fans. Leyland didn't take too kindly to being second-guessed for taking Rick Porcello out of a game in which he was one-hitting the Pirates after eight innings with 84 pitches. Closer Jose Valverde finished off the win, and Leyland went on a rant Monday about being second-guessed. (Detroit Free-Press)

START 'ER UP: The Cardinals will put Mitchell Boggs into the rotation at Triple-A after the reliever was demoted in a bit of a surprising move on Monday. The transition to the rotation isn't permanent, but it will afford St. Louis some security in rotation depth as well as allow Boggs to fine-tune his secondary offerings. (FoxSportsMidwest.com)

GOING OPPOSITE: David Ortiz seems to be taking a page out of Adrian Gonzalez's book, as Big Papi is going to the opposite field more than he ever has before, banging balls off the Green Monster. Of Ortiz's 27 hits at home so far, 14 have gone the opposite way. Compare that to a full-season total of 16 in 2008. (WEEI)

MOVE THE WALLS: Padres manager Bud Black might be getting sick of the decrepit Padres offense. Black has avoided all comment about possibly moving the walls of Petco Park in, but admitted Monday he thought there was "room for discussion." (MLB.com)

GLOVE MAN: What can't Eric Hosmer do? All the focus has been on Hosmer's offense, but he sports a pretty good glove too. Alcides Escobar thinks so, smiling enthusiastically when asked about Hosmer's defense. (Kansas City Star)

SLOW AND STEADY: Adam Lind still hasn't played in a game since May 7 thanks to a sore back, but that could finally be coming Wednesday. Once Lind returns from his minor-league rehab assignment, he'll return to first base but will see starts at DH mixed in to ease him back physically. (MLB.com)

DAT DUDE: Brandon Phillips' Twitter account is among the best in sports and has turned him into a marketing machine who fans adore. That's quite a ways from the kind of person he was in Cleveland. This is a nice profile of Phillips and how Twitter has impacted him. (MLB.com)

SELLING OUT: The Double-A Dayton Dragons are at 799 consecutive sellouts and if all goes according to plan, July 9 is when the Dragons will take out the Portland Trail Blazers for most consecutive sellouts in sports history. However, 40-60 tickets a game for the 7,230-seat stadium remain, although the team does not appear concerned about that posing an issue. (Dayton Daily News)

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Closer watch: Franklin, Nathan, Thornton out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

John AxfordAs we're getting deeper into the first month of the season, some of the "small sample size" arguments are losing their luster and managers are getting itchy. There's no position in baseball that causes more consternation than the closer's spot -- and few are easier to change. 

On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Ryan Franklin was out as his closer, joining Ozzie Guillen and Ron Gardenhire in making changes in closers already this season, a common April occurance.

Here's a look at where all the closers in baseball stand at this moment:

Out -- Ryan Franklin (Cardinals), Joe Nathan (Twins), Matt Thornton (White Sox).

We won't know who the replacement for Franklin is until it comes to a save situation (Matt Snyder took a look at who may get the call -- and I'll agree that Mitchell Boggs gets the first shot) and even then, we'll have to have a few save situations until we get there.

Matt Capps has taken over for Nathan, who is not back 100 percent from Tommy John surgery, in Minnesota.

Thornton may get the call if the White Sox get in a save situation, but Ozzie Guillen has no confidence in anybody in his bullpen and has said he just doesn't have a closer.

Hanging by a thread -- John Axford (Brewers), Sean Burnett (Nationals), Kevin Gregg (Orioles).

Axford (pictured) started his season off by blowing a save in Cincinnati and added another Monday night. He's struggled with his command this season, but the Brewers don't have too many better options.

The Nationals have gone from no closer, to Burnett back to no set closer. After Burnett blew a save on Friday, Drew Storen closed with two innings on Sunday against the Brewers. The two are expected to share the job, but Burnett's not "out" because he's still half in.

Hand wringing -- Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers), Joakim Soria (Royals), Francisco Rodriguez (Mets).

These are three marquee names, but there's plenty of worry surrounding the trio.

Soria has struggled and has a 5.59 ERA, blowing one save, while Broxton hasn't blown a save, but has given up plenty of runs. He has an ERA of 6.14 and his manager's vote of confidence.

K-Rod, well, he's got plenty of issues, including a contract with a vesting option that the Mets aren't really interested in seeing him meet. That said, it's not like he's getting a lot of chances to close out Met victories for the team with the National League's worst record.

Nobody's perfect --  Brian Fuentes (Athletics), Carlos Marmol (Cubs), Jon Rauch (Blue Jays).

Rauch has been good, converting all three of his saves this season, but the return of Frank Francisco complicates things for him in Toronto.

Solid -- Mariano Rivera (Yankees), Heath Bell (Padres), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Huston Street (Rockies), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates), Leo Nunez (Marlins), Chris Perez (Indians), Brian Wilson (Giants), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), J.J. Putz (Diamondbacks), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Jose Valverde (Tigers).

Sure, Rivera blew a save last night. I think Joe Girardi may give him another shot.

If a save falls in a forrest -- Francisco Cordero (Reds), Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox), Brandon Lyon (Astros), Brandon League (Marienrs), Kyle Farnsworth (Rays), Jordan Walden (Angels).

If the rest of the closers are in a "small sample size" argument right now, these guys have a "tiny sample size."

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Mets hoping to avoid K-Rod option vest

By Evan Brunell

RodriguezFranciscio Rodriguez's $17.5 million option will vest if he finishes 55 games, something the Mets want to avoid if at all possible.

Yes, K-Rod is a very good closer, but $17.5 million is simply an asinine number. The problem is how to skirt the issue without drawing the ire of Rodriguez, his agent and the player's union. After all, they can't expect Rodriguez to flip out on another girlfriend's father, right? ... Right?

The longtime Angel topped 55 games finished each season from 2005-2009 and finished at 46 last season. He would have cracked 55 if not for being suspended after the altercation with his ex-girlfriend's father.

One thing that could break New York's way is calling it a change in philosophy after a new manager and front office has been installed. Despite his consecutive streak of games finished, he only has two years of games finished significantly higher than 55, coming in 2008 and 2009. K-Rod saved an incredible 62 games in '08, so quite obviously finished over 60 games -- 69 to be exact. He would also have 66 in his first season as a Met, but the three years prior to that only saw 58, 58 and 55 games finished, respectively. That's a mere handful of games that the club can avoid to stay under 55. The expectation of the Mets to hover around .500 will also work in New York's favor, as it's less wins that require saving.

Manager Terry Collins, for his part, plans to speak to Rodriguez Sunday about how he will be used this season, as MLB.com reports. While Rodriguez will get the call in games where there is a save at stake, the main issue is when there is not. Most closers tend to get work in non-save situations at the end of games, which counts as a game finished. But Collins is hoping to avoid that and has an excuse at the ready.

"I'm not going to let him go out there just to pitch an inning and jeopardize the game when I'm going to need him the next day," Collins said.

It's a fair excuse and it should fly -- why should Collins get K-Rod work in a non-save situation when he might be needed for a save? But as every team knows, circumstances don't always line up perfectly, and there may be a day where Rodriguez simply needs to get work in, period. That will prove Collins' tough test. The best way to approach it may be to pitch Rodriguez in the eighth inning of a blowout, then have a worse reliever finish it off. But even that will be viewed as skirting the issue. It'll be an interesting subplot to watch as the season winds on.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 15, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Wanted: Experienced closer, likes Texas heat

Neftali Feliz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

If Neftali Feliz is starting for the Rangers, it doesn't appear the close is in camp with the defending American League champions.

"I have confidence in Jon Daniels and our scouts," manager Ron Washington told reporters, including ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon on Tuesday. "If that's the case, I'm 100 percent sure they'll go out there and find somebody to close ballgames down for us."

If that's the case, the Rangers will be looking for their seventh different closer in the last seven seasons (defining "closer" as "dude with the most saves."). The last Ranger to lead the team in saves in back-to-back years was Francisco Cordero in 2004-05. Cordero has since been an All-Star for two different teams.

Alexi OgondoThe Rangers' internal candidates appear to be Mark Lowe and Alexi Ogando (right). Or the team could go with a closer-by-committee until the trade deadline, also using veteran lefties Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver along with Lowe and Ogando. Prospect Tanner Scheppers is another (remote) possibility. The Rangers traded Frank Francisco, their closer in 2009, to the Blue Jays in exchange for Mike Napoli in the offseason.

As for trade candidates, the team could go out now, or wait until the trade deadline when more candidates would be available.

Among those available could be the Padres Heath Bell, the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez and the Orioles' Michael Gonzalez. The Blue Jays have several experienced closers on their roster, including Francisco, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.

If the team waits until the trade deadline, if the Mariners David Aardsma could be available, as well as Cordero, who could be supplanted by Aroldis Chapman (or Nick Masset). Others that could be available include Kevin Gregg, J.J. Putz and Brandon Lyon.

However, Washington did tell reporters in the same sitting that he felt confident enough with the rotation as it is and Feliz in the bullpen. It also appears, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson writes, that Washington would prefer to keep Feliz in the bullpen unless Daniels can get another closer.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 1:33 pm
 

K-Rod scratched Tuesday at his request

Posted by Matt Snyder

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was scheduled to make his spring training debut Tuesday, but there has been a change in plans.

Apparently, "K-Rod," who had to travel back to New York this past weekend for a Monday court appearance, didn't find out he was on the pitching schedule until arriving back at camp Tuesday morning. He notified manager Terry Collins he'd rather have a couple days worth of bullpens before taking the mound in game action. So his debut should come either Thursday or Friday, assuming there are no more surprise schedule incidents. (New York Post )

Rodriguez had to fly back to New York in order to provide the court with proper updates on his required anger management counseling sessions.

The 29 year old is looking to return from a season-ending injury and arrest last August -- over an altercation with the father of his children's mother. He had saved 25 games and had a 2.20 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez is entering what could be the final year of his contract, if he doesn't finish 55 games. If he does, he will earn $17.5 million next season. Needless to say, there's quite a bit of incentive to get himself ready for a full season of health and void of off-field issues.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com