Sources: K-Rod didn't see trade coming

BY foxsports • July 12, 2011

Francisco Rodriguez recently hired Scott Boras as his agent. But Boras wasn’t the mastermind behind the trade that sent K-Rod from the Mets to the Brewers.

In fact, it appears Boras had no direct influence on the trade talks.

Milwaukee wasn’t among the 10 teams to which Rodriguez could have blocked a trade, major league sources told, meaning the deal took place without the blessings of Boras or the four-time All-Star reliever.

As a result, Boras was unable to negotiate any financial bonuses or conditions with the deal – such as whether Rodriguez will serve as a closer with his new team. K-Rod’s role is of the utmost importance from a contractual standpoint, since his $17.5 million option for next year will vest if he finishes another 21 games during this regular season.

If Rodriguez closes for the first-place Brewers, it’s likely that he will hit that mark. But the team could avoid that expense by using K-Rod in a setup role. John Axford, the Brewers’ current closer, has a lower ERA than Rodriguez in a comparable number of innings this season. But Axford, who is in his first full season as a closer, lacks K-Rod’s overall career credentials.

Rodriguez could waive the $17.5 million option in order to become a free agent after the season. While Rodriguez would be giving up guaranteed money in that scenario, sources say the players’ union would permit him to do so because the act of becoming a free agent has inherent value to the player.

Boras has said publicly that Rodriguez is a closer and not a setup man. Still, Boras may in fact prefer that Rodriguez become a free agent. If K-Rod signs a new contract, the agent’s commission will belong to Boras. But if the option vests, then the agency that negotiated Rodriguez’s current contract – Wasserman Media Group – could claim the commission on Rodriguez’s $17.5 million salary next year.

Boras took a similar approach with another famous client, since-discredited slugger Manny Ramirez. Boras signed Ramirez as a client in the middle of a contract that had been negotiated by another agent. So when Ramirez was traded from the Red Sox to Dodgers in 2008, Boras insisted that the Dodgers decline their club options, thus making him a free agent after that season. When Ramirez signed a new $45 million deal with the Dodgers, the commission belonged to Boras.

The Brewers acquired cash from the Mets along with Rodriguez; one source told that the amount is about $5 million, or roughly what he is owed over the remainder of this season.

In return, New York will receive two players to be named later. One source said both players are currently in the minor leagues and will be chosen from a list that the teams have agreed upon. A rival scout described the Brewers’ farm system as “light” in impact talent, following the offseason trades that brought pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee.

The Rodriguez trade was announced less than one hour after the conclusion of Tuesday’s All-Star Game. It’s the first major move leading up to this year’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Mets are likely to trade outfielder Carlos Beltran, as well; the defending champion Giants are among Beltran’s most serious suitors, sources say.