Thursday, January 8, 2009

A New Closer

The season had not even ended yet, and he was our guy. Billy Wagner had gone down with a career-threatening injury, and certainly he was not going to be our closer in his final year of his contract, nor would the team be comfortable giving him a new contract and having him as a big question mark in the closer role.

The chase was on. Francisco Rodriguez, affectionately known as K-Rod, was about to break the record for most saves in a single season. He had also just become the youngest player to record 200 career saves. And he just happened to be in the final year of his contract with the Angels, with indications that he would not be returning to Anaheim.

K-Rod was to be our top priority as the offseason began. The Angels confirmed they would not try to re-sign him. Then it was up to Omar to come in and get his man. Three years and $37 million, quite a bit less than what K-Rod had hoped for. It was time to rejoice as for the second straight offseason, the Mets were bringing in a tremendous new pitcher who had previously wore #57.

I, as surely most Mets fans are, am pretty excited for the new #75 to come to town. He brings a great amount of excitement and passion to this team, besides the ability to close better than anyone right now (Mo Rivera might still have a case).

There are concerns with his health, however. His odd delivery can be worrisome, as well as a recent decline in his velocity. However, he began working at his delivery last season to make it less stressful, and the adjustment may have been responsible for the decrease in velocity. As he becomes comfortable with the new delivery, the velocity will hopefully go up. Overall though, I'm not too concerned. The concerns are for his future, but we have him right now. He successfully closed more games than anyone in history last season. That is the K-Rod that we have right now, and hopefully for the remainder of the three year deal. After those three years, then his health and velocity can be re-examined.

K-Rod obviously brings excitement for the fans to have him closing out games. However, he is just taking over Billy Wagner's role (but a bit of an upgrade), which he wasn't so bad at. It was getting to Billy that got us into so much trouble, plus the complete lack of anyone to reliably close games when he was out. Omar still had another trick up his sleeve, and he would use it to make a pretty shocking move which has me even more excited than this deal.

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