By Mike Steffanos
I was working on another piece for the blog tonifht when I read the news that Frankie Rodriguez was traded to Milwaukee along with cash for "two players to be named".
I was somewhat surprised when I read this. While I knew that K-Rod and his $17.5 million option wouldn't be finishing the season in New York, I figured a deal would happen at or close to the July 31 trade deadline.
The Mets are certainly a notch less competitive going forward with Bobby Parnell and Jason Isringhausen the most likely candidates to take on the closer role.
Parnell has been great in June and July after the rough start, but he's still rough around the edges. Izzy has the pedigree, but it's obvious that he's hanging by a thread physically and has lacked command of his pitches. I'd hate to see his feel-good story ruined by blown saves.
Pedro Beato conceivably could get a look in the ninth inning, too. He's looked good lately like Parnell, but is even rawer as a pitcher. If I had a vote I'd probably like Parnell to get the first shot, but I have to admit I'm not going to be overflowing with confidence when he's trying to nail down a W. K-Rod may have walked the tightrope, but he had a knack for coming through most of the time that I will miss.
No matter who is elevated to the closer role, the bullpen is definitely thinner. Hopefully Taylor Buchholz can make it back at some point. That would definitely help.
It seems unlikely that either of the two players to be named will be anything special. I'd be happy if they got anything of value. The real point was moving K-Rod and his option, and I give Alderson credit for getting it done without drama. It will be interesting to see whether a Beltran deal gets made now or if Alderson waits for the deadline. That would really signal a white flag going up on the season.
On a personal note, apologies for the sporadic posting of late. Things are settling down a little, and I do believe my goal of posting 2-3 times a week in this space this year is realistic.