Mets Trade Rumors: The Return Of Francisco Rodriguez?

The Return of the Walk-Rod?

Ken Davidoff reports the Mets have spoken to the Brewers about the possibility of re-acquiring right-handed relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. As we noted yesterday, the Mets' bullpen is last in Major League Baseball with a 4.93 ERA, and the team appears to be looking for help.

Rodriguez's most notorious moment in his stint with the Mets was, of course, the time he got arrested in the Mets' clubhouse in 2010. On top of that, the latter part of his tenure with the Mets was overshadowed by the absurd vesting option that was built into his contract when Omar Minaya signed him before the 2009 season. In short, there was a very real chance that Rodriguez could have locked in a preposterous $17.5 million salary for the 2012 season. The contract obviously played a major role in the Mets' decision to traded Rodriguez to the Brewers around this time last year.

Rodriguez re-negotiated his deal upon his arrival in Milwaukee and wound up accepting arbitration after last season. As a result, he is making $8 million this year working in a setup role to John Axford, the Brewers' closer.

In terms of performance, Rodriguez has not been great this year. His strikeout rate is the lowest of his career, and he's walking batters a bit more frequently than he did over the past two seasons. He's still not walking anywhere near the number of hitters he did in 2009 and earlier, though, which is good.

On the upside, Rodriguez's average fastball has increase in velocity by about one mile-per-hour. And if he were to join the Mets, he would likely provide an improvement over several of the team's current relief pitchers. Let's have a look at how he would fit in.

Tim Byrdak 3.05 2.91 3.68 10.02 4.35 .200
Bobby Parnell 3.00 3.08 3.13 8.45 2.18 .294
Ramon Ramirez 4.30 3.32 4.27 8.28 3.68 .345
Jon Rauch 4.20 3.62 4.26 6.00 1.80 .265
Frank Francisco 4.97 3.71 4.17 9.62 4.34 .330
Francisco Rodriguez 4.00 3.97 3.74 8.00 3.75 .327
Miguel Batista 3.92 5.03 4.97 7.84 6.97 .281

Table sorted by FIP, minimum 20 IP.

Although Rodriguez's FIP is worse than everyone but Batista, his track record suggests he could very well be better than at least Francisco and Rauch. Like all of the other potential relief pitchers the Mets could acquire, Rodriguez would have to be available for very little return in order for the deal to make sense.

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