The world will not end if Francisco Rodriguez’s option vests

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We’ve all known for over a year now that the Mets weren’t going to want to be on the hook for Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option for 2012.  They would have given him away to be out from under it.  As is, they had to pay the Brewers almost $6 million just to get a couple of middling prospects in return for K-Rod.

And as soon as the Brewers picked him up, we knew they had no intention of allowing Rodriguez to get the 21 games finished he’d need during the second half to guarantee that option.  No one wants to spend $17.5 million on a closer.

That said, this isn’t armageddon.  If the Brewers lose John Axford to injury, they need to go ahead and let Rodriguez close.  It’s not a decision that would cost them $17.5 million.

As part of the trade, the Mets picked up the nearly $6 million of the $8.4 million owed to Rodriguez.  $4.9 million of the $8.4 million of that is the remainder of his $11.5 million salary for 2011.  The rest is a $3.5 million buyout attached to Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option.

So, really, that makes the option worth $14 million, since the $3.5 million is spoken for anyway.  And there’s going to be at least one team out there willing to take on Rodriguez as a $9 million-$10 million closer this winter.  The only way that wouldn’t be the case is if Rodriguez gets hurt and finishes the season on the DL, and there is a clause in his contract that voids the ability of the option to vest in the event of an injury.

The way I see it, pretty much the worst-case scenario here is that the Brewers have to eat $5 million in the event of the option becoming guaranteed.  That’s not nothing, but it’s not going to kill a team with a payroll in the $90 million range.  Most likely, the Brewers won’t have to deal with it anyway.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.