In what has been an exasperating year and half of duty with the New York Mets, Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) may have written his last chapter with the team after last Wednesday’s altercation with the father of his girlfriend.
In K-Rod’s brief stint with the Mets, there have been plenty of highs and lows, with this incident ranking as the lowest of the lows.
K-Rod, as you’re probably aware of, was arrested after last Wednesday’s game with the Rockies for assaulting Carlos Pena, father of his live-in girlfriend Diane, in one of the family clubhouse lounges at Citi Field. Rodriguez was subsequently charged with third-degree assault.
Rodriguez, as a result of his altercation, will now miss the remainder of the season after getting surgery to repair a tendon in his right hand, which he injured in the fracas.
Now the Mets want some compensation.
Earlier in the week the Mets placed K-Rod on the disqualified list. As a result, the Players Association has now filed a grievance. With K-Rod on the disqualified list, the Mets will look to make his contract non-guaranteed instead of guaranteed, which would save the Mets from paying him the $3 million he is owed this year.
Mets brass, including GM Omar Minaya, have said they plan on bringing K-Rod (who should be healthy by spring training) back next year, although Minaya did say he wants the “process” to play out.
I hope that process includes showing K-Rod the door.
Rodriguez is a hot-headed, temperamental, and egotistical jerk, whose influence is not something a winning ball club should be surrounded by.
At this point, this decision is not about wins and losses. It’s about cleansing the clubhouse of bad-guy behavior and me-first attitudes(I’m also looking at you Oliver Perez!).
Sure, with what I just said, you could argue that the Mets should get rid of Johan Santana too. He is after all, in a pending civil case over rape charges. However, Santana’s case is not a criminal case and in Florida, where the incident took place, the police finished their investigation in the fall. Besides, has there been any hint that Santana has been a bad influence on his teammates in any fashion whatsoever?
Rodriguez has had his bouts with anger management and he should know better. He has had previous run ins with personnel (former executive Tony Bernazard), coaches (bullpen coach Randy Nieman) and players (Willie Harris and Brian Bruney). K-Rod can’t control his emotions and the Mets should not be forced to babysit him any longer.
Not that Bruney is a beacon of truth and all that is right in baseball, but now I understand why he said he was happy when K-Rod blew the save last year against the Yankees in the game where Luis Castillo dropped a sure pop-up. Bruney said something to the effect that you get what you deserve and K-Rod and his antics were persona non grata in baseball.
The Mets need harmony and leadership amidst a season that will likely result with the team missing out on the playoffs yet again. Whatever good they can salvage out of the rest of the season sans K-Rod, hopefully they can carry it over to next season knowing they don’t necessarily need him.
As they head into next season, the Mets must take a stand and let their fans know that Rodriguez’ behavior is unacceptable and they will only reward players who view being on a major league team as a privilege, and not a right.
In the Mets last two wins over the Houston Astros, it was nice to see the bullpen step up and not miss a beat without K-Rod.
On Monday, the Mets used Hisanori Takahashi in the 9th inning of a 3-1 victory, with Takahashi breezing by the Astros in perfect fashion. On Wednesday night, the bullpen was at it once again as they held the Astros scoreless for the final 5 2/3 innings pitched while only giving up two hits. Manny Acosta came on in the 14th inning and capped off the game with another perfect frame, throwing only five pitches to get the save.
K-Rod is no doubt one of the better closers in the game (and history making at that) and his absence will be felt on the field. It’s too bad too, because K-Rod was pitching great (his last 10 1/3 innings pitched yielded no runs while only allowing two hits and two walks) prior to his dustup with his girlfriend’s father.
This is more about character and the Mets should approach the 2011 season with a clean slate. They should move on without K-Rod, whether they have to pay Rodriguez guaranteed money or not. With the union filing a grievance, the case will be held in front of an arbitrator somewhere down the line.
Look, I believe in second chances, and I believe K-Rod deserves to pitch next year, I’m just not behind that second chance being with the Mets.