Somehow, as I drifted to sleep after the All-Star game, I was unaware that the Brewers had acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets. When I woke up this morning, my phone had been assaulted (no joke implied at our newest Brewers expense) by texts and Tweets. This was a terrific way to wake up.
As I sifted through all of the various reports and checked in with my ususal sources, this deal started to take some shape. I think I can see why this deal makes so much sense. There are two sides of this deal, the first side is the money side.
Clearly the Mets wanted to dump K-Rod’s salary and that was their sole purpose in making this deal. Although, I am a little surprised that they are sending $5 million to the Brewers as part of the deal (per SI’s Jon Heyman). It seems like this money could be used to buy out his contract at seasons end (contract has $3.5 million dollar buyout if K-Rod does not finish 21 more games this season). If for some reason K-Rod has to step in and become our closer 21 times before the end of the season, then we may have a $17.5 million problem next season. There is a provision in is contract which guarantees that money if he should save 21 more games this season. Knock on wood that scenario does not come to pass. This deal was made by the Mets so that they could dump that $17.5 million from the books for next season, plain and simple.
The second side of this deal, the baseball side. This deal is a slam dunk for the Brewers. All you are giving up is two players to be named later (we will probably find out later today who exactly these players will be), but I assume that it will not be top tier prospects. By giving up 2 miscellaneous pieces, in return we get one of the most dominant 1 inning pitchers in all of baseball. How much better are going to feel when Roenicke calls on Rodriguez in the 8th inning, rather than Loe or Braddock? It is clear that the Brewers have no intention to keep K-Rod past this season, because we already have a terrific closer. The “rent-a-pitcher” mentality has served us well in the past. Brewers management knew that we needed to add bullpen depth, but our trade flexibility was limited. By completing this deal, Melvin acknowledges that in his mind it is “this season or bust” and money will not deter him from reaching that goal. Considering that the team that has not won a division title in my lifetime, this deal gives me a real sense of hope that we can do it.
In the deepest caverns of my mind, I imagine that Doug Melvin picked up the phone one day last week and called the Mets. When he got Sandy Alderson on the phone, he said “Tell you what, I will throw you a few minor league pieces and take K-Rod’s salary off your hands. You in or you out?” In the back of his mind Melvin probably thought that proposition would never fly, but clearly Alderson jumped at that chance to unload the cash hog in place of some low-level talent. Maybe Melvin thought it was a long shot, but Alderson could not resist dumping that mountain of cash off of his books. Everyone wins. Now, I’m sure it was much more in-depth than that, just not in my brain it wasn’t.
I will provide you all with an update as to the players we gave up in the deal, once I know. Keep your fingers crossed that we did not give up anything too special. Later this morning I plan on discussing Prince Fielder’s MVP performance in last nights All-Star game.
They say today is the slowest sports day of the year. Leave it to the Brewers to give me something to write about today. Thanks guys!!!