Top Six Stories of the 2011 Mets: The Vest (5)

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Every time Francisco Rodriguez pitched in a Mets uniform this season, it was a Vestivus for the rest of us.

It was neither Rodriguez' nor Sandy Alderson's fault that the contract he signed with the Mets called for a ridiculous salary for next season based on some easily attainable milestones, but no one wanted to pay a relief pitcher $17.5 million while the team works to reduce payroll. It definitely didn't help that he was arrested in the Mets' clubhouse a little over a year ago for punching out the grandfather of his children.

On Amazin' Avenue, the story really began back in January when Eno Sarris spelled out a plan for the Mets to avoid the option while maximizing Rodriguez's contribution to the team. Once the season was underway, it would have been nearly impossible to watch or listen to the Mets without at least one or two references to the number of games Rodriguez had finished or his looming option. If he appeared in a game, it was also pretty certain that there would be a Vest-O-Meter in the Amazin' Avenue gamethread. And there were those who wished the story would just go away, at least for a little while.

Nobody would have been surprised if the Mets sent Rodriguez packing in a trade, but Sandy Alderson completed a deal well before the deadline. Those who had seen Alderson's appearance on SNY a few days prior had seen the writing on the wall. Some thought the Mets were waving the white flag a little too soon, but Alderson freed the team of a potential nightmare contract and knew that the Mets were a longshot to contend for the remainder of the season.

The return for Rodriguez wasn't made public until September, but the Mets picked up a couple of potentially useful pieces in Daniel Ray Herrera and Adrian Rosario. Of course, the bullpen was mostly awful for the remainder of the season, and even Alderson admitted that he would like to have a more effective pitcher closing games for the Mets next season.

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In case you missed it:

Top Six Stories of the 2011 Mets: Johan Santana's Absence (6)

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