There were always assumptions made of this season, and early today one became reality in a positive stroke for the Mets.
The Mets traded reliever Francisco Rodriguez and $5 million in cash to the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named later. Never mind the two players, the Mets won because they got out from under Rodriguez’s daunting $17.5 million vesting option.
The Mets’ press release was timed at 12:25 a.m., so on this date in club history the fire sale began. And, make no mistake, there will be a sale regardless of how well the team has played, but we knew that all along.
Carlos Beltran, who said at the All-Star Game he would accept a deal, is on deck.
“This trade allows us to develop and more fully utilize other members of our 2011 bullpen and offers some payroll relief as well,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said of shedding Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s option kicks in if he finishes 55 games, which would have been a certainty at the rate he was going. That’s something the financially struggling Mets desperately needed to avoid as they deliberate what to do with Jose Reyes.
Let’s face it, as well as the Mets played in the first half, they face too steep a hill to reach the playoffs as a wild card, much less win the division. They trail Philly by 11 games and wild-card leader Atlanta by 7.5, but have four teams to leapfrog to reach the Braves.
Of all the players the Mets reportedly were seeking to deal, Rodriguez was the priority because of his option. That priority became more acute after Rodriguez dumped his agent and hired Scott Boras.
Rodriguez was to be paid $11.5 million this season, and considering the $5 million they are kicking in, the Mets will pay all but $750,000 due him.