Surprising deal might not please K-Rod

You’re Francisco Rodriguez, and you just hired Scott Boras as your new agent. No one knows the exact reason for your switch, but it wasn’t to become a setup man, that’s for sure.

And now, after the Mets traded you to the Brewers late Tuesday night, traded you along with approximately $5 million for two players to be named?

Uh, Frankie, hate to break it to you.

You’re a setup man. Or, at best, an alternate closer.

The Brewers’ John Axford is 23-for-24 in save opportunities with a 1.99 ERA since blowing a save on Opening Day. Brewers GM Doug Melvin did not totally commit to Axford remaining the closer in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. But what are the Brewers going to do, demote Axford for a trade acquisition with a 6.38 ERA since May 27, even with his current scoreless streak of 5 2/3 innings?

Not anytime soon.

For once, Boras looks like he was out-maneuvered, even though he will benefit financially if K-Rod does not finish 21 more games and vest his $17.5 million option, becoming a free agent instead.

K-Rod had a limited no-trade clause, enabling him to block trades to 10 teams. The Brewers were not one of those teams. The Mets, by going off the list, effectively prevented Boras from choosing Rodriguez’s next club.

Smart move, considering that Boras told Newsday’s Ken Davidoff on Monday, “Francisco Rodriguez is a historic closer. He’s not going anywhere to be a setup man.”

Boras added, “Closers don’t make good setup men. Does anyone want an unhappy setup man in their clubhouse?”

When it comes to K-Rod, who pleaded guilty to assaulting the father of his girlfriend last August, I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

But in reality, Rodriguez has no choice but to be a good teammate with the Brewers, much as it might wound his ego. He’s destined to hit the open market this offseason, and throwing a hissy fit only will diminish his value.

The Brewers are a loose, rollicking, welcoming bunch – left-hander CC Sabathia loved being part of their clubhouse, and so did another highly respected veteran, Mike Cameron.

Manager Ron Roenicke, meanwhile, was a coach with the Angels throughout Rodriguez’s entire tenure with that club, from 2002 to ’08. Their prior relationship should only help, but Roenicke didn’t need to talk K-Rod into being a setup man then.

The bottom line, though, is that Rodriguez needs to go compete. He can sign with a new team as a closer in free agency, even though he probably will not command a salary anywhere near the value of his vesting option.

In the end, the Mets got what they wanted, escaping K-Rod’s onerous option. The Brewers got what they wanted, adding another quality reliever to their late-inning mix.

The only one who didn’t get what he wanted was K-Rod, the “historic closer” who became a setup man less than 48 hours after his new agent vowed that such a thing would not occur.

You’re Francisco Rodriguez, and you just got played.
 

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