While Prince Fielder was holding up the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, Milwaukee Brewers GM Doug Melvin was busy working. The New York Mets agreed to send K-Rod and cash (the rest of K-Rod’s salary for this year, $5 Million) to the Brewers for two players to be named later. It appears the the Brewers would be responsible for picking up the $3.5 million option if K-Rod’s contract does not vest – more on that later.
A few observations here if I may:
1) The Brewers are going for it. They added Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to go along with Yovani Gallardo before the season started and now are trying to get to the finish line by adding a closer they desperately need. Ryan Braun signed a long term extension however there is no guarantee that Prince Fielder will remain there long term and the Brewers feel that now is their best chance. It probably is. Everyone thought that the Padres’ Heath Bell would be the guy that went to Milwaukee. Bell will now end up somewhere else.
2) Everyone wanted to know if the Mets were going to be sellers before the trading deadline or if they were going to play it out. We now have our answer. But who knew the Mets had $5 million in cash to throw around?
3) Carlos Beltran appears the next to go. After the Mets finished their series against the San Francisco Giants to close out the first half, Beltran flew to the All-Star game on a charter from San Francisco with All-Stars Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Ryan Vogelsong and manager Bruce Bochy. Does anyone not think that the five guys surrounded Beltran on the plane and threatened him with bodily harm if he didn’t come to San Francisco? Wilson spent the majority of his time in Arizona openly trying to lobby Beltran that he was the piece to put the Giants over the top. There was nothing subtle about it. Frankly, if he doesn’t go there, it will be a shock because he’s a perfect fit for their outfield and could make a real difference there.
4) For all you Fantasy Baseball buffs out there, expect a free agent bidding frenzy on hard throwing Bobby Parnell who is expected to take over the Mets closers role.
As for the trade itself; on the surface it appears that Sandy Alderson and the Mets got fleeced here, however we don’t yet know who the two players to be named later yet are so it’s presumptuous to assume. Also, anyone who has watched K-Rod pitch for the Mets knows that he’s no longer the K-Rod that pitched for the Angels. Even when he closes it out, it almost always appears that K-Rod has it in his contract that he must put the both the tying and winning runs on base first. Would anyone be surprised to see K-Rod actually blow it for the Brewers in the end? Not me.
The bottom line is that the Mets wanted out of K-Rod’s contract, particularly that $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in at 55 games finished. He was at 34, on pace for 61. Interestingly, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat writer, Tom Haudricourt, believes there’s no way Milwaukee can let the contract vest at $17.5 million either and the Brewers may use K-Rod more to set up and use John Axford more as the closer to ensure K-Rod doesn’t hit the vesting trigger.
Personally I think an arrangement like that would would spell disaster as they would be going out of the way to take money out of K-Rod’s pocket. Undoubtedly he would pout (if not rant and file a grievance) and he would not pitch effectively in the eighth inning.
The National League’s 5-1 victory in the 82nd MLB All-Star game gives the NL 2011 World Series representative home field advantage. Fielder won the game and K-Rod went to the Brewers so Milwaukee has to win the NL Pennant now right?
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