Dec 17

Rodriguez eyes big year ….

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel stood at the podium and in a classic photo opportunity helped his closer, Francisco Rodriguez, put on his new jersey.

“Seventy-five,’’ Manuel said as he looked at the number. “That’s the number of saves he’s going to have.’’

Rodriguez, introduced this afternoon at the Citi Bank Building in Long Island City, understands the math.

“I’m aware of what is expected,’’ said Rodriguez, who expects the same after his record 62 saves last season for the Angels earned him a three-year, $37 million contract with the Mets.

“Every year I come to spring training with the goal to have better numbers than I had the year before.’’

Why the Mets?

Besides money, Rodriguez said his decision “was easy … they are one team that is hungry to win.’’

General manager Omar Minaya said the acquisitions of Rodriguez, and J.J. Putz from Seattle, who’ll be introduced tomorrow at Citi Field, have solved the Mets’ bullpen problem, which was defined by 29 blown saves last season.

“One thing we lacked last year was being able to close out a game, but we went out and got the best closer in the game,’’ Minaya said of Rodriguez.

Dec 15

Mets seek pitching; eye Wolf.

WOLF: Mets interested in lefty.

WOLF: Mets interested in lefty.

His name has been mentioned on this blog several times, now it appears the Mets have interest in signing lefthander Randy Wolf.

GM Omar Minaya placed the odds at 50-50 the Mets would re-sign Oliver Perez.

It’s a smart move on Minaya’s part to look elsewhere. The more he pins his pitching hopes on Perez, the longer agent Scott Boras will drag this out with the hope of driving up the price.

Dec 09

Mets to talk with Pedro ….

MARTINEZ: Wants another year with the Mets.

MARTINEZ: Wants another year with the Mets.

The Mets’ rotation could again include Pedro Martinez, who wants to return and GM Omar Minaya has a reciprocal interest in bringing him back.

Said Minaya to ESPN.deportes: “We have interest in him. We’re going to talk to his agent when we have the opportunity.”

The Mets have three starters – Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine – but with their odds long on getting Derek Lowe, they might have to settle for bringing back Oliver Perez, and that’s not a given.

Jon Niese would be expected to compete with Martinez for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Dec 05

Prepping for Vegas ….

The more I think about it, the more I believe Omar Minaya is playing this closer hand the right way. Patience is the way to go.

The Mets are the contender in the most dire need of a closer, so they’ll market. The asking price for Francisco Rodriguez should go down from the original five years at $75 million. If that’s the guy they really want, having Brian Fuentes on the market (there doesn’t seem to be a line outside his door) should keep Rodriguez’s salary in line, more like three years.

I believe the Mets will come away with a closer, but it makes no sense to throw out huge bids right now when the market isn’t even set.

Dec 03

What’s your confidence level on the Mets making a Winter Meetings splash?

I keep hearing because of the landscape of the closer market that the Mets have the pick of the litter. The Angels, Rockies and Cubs have closers in waiting so there’s no urgency for them to bring back Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes or Kerry Wood.

We’ve seen the Mets wait – too long – in the past and come away empty. What’s your gut telling you today? Will that happen again or will Omar Minaya land a closer.

My stomach tells me he’ll bring somebody in. It doesn’t tell me, however, he’ll get a closer and rebuild the bridge.