As you might recall, the last time we saw Francisco Rodriguez, he was punching his children's grandfather -- in the process, suffering a season-ending thumb injury -- and the Mets were trying to excuse themselves from the remainder of his contract.
Well, the thumb's healed and the Mets are still on the hook for the contract (though they didn't have to pay him for the six weeks he missed). So now the best thing is for everyone to start fresh and move ahead. After the jump, Rodriguez says all the right things ...
"I'm going to have to be realistic. It's a very unfortunate situation I put myself in," said Rodriguez, who had not been in Mets apparel since appearing in an Aug. 14 game, then undergoing surgery to repair a torn right thumb ligament suffered in the incident. "Obviously I regret [it] a thousand percent. But I've got to move on. I've got to learn from those mistakes. It made me grow up more as a human being. I'm truly sorry for the way I put my teammates, the Mets organization, the fans, in that spot."
Hey, good for him. What's best for the Mets, though?
Of course they would like their closer to pitch well. It gets complicated, though. If Rodriguez finishes 55 games this season and the doctors say he's healthy afterward, the Mets owe him $17.5 million in 2012.
That's an immense amount of money for a relief pitcher. I'm no mind-reader, but I will guess that Sandy Alderson would rather not pay Rodriguez $17.5 million in 2012. Even if it's really $14 million (because they'll owe him a $3.5 million buyout payment if he doesn't lock in the $17.5M).
We've seen these situations before, and managers very rarely make decisions based on contract clauses. It wouldn't go over well with their players, plus the union might get involved and then nobody's happy. So the managers manage like they manage and the front office hopes for the best.
If Rodriguez is healthy and moderately effective, he'll probably finish between 55 and 65 games. Frankly, the front office has to hope that he suffers a minor injury somewhere along the way.