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.