The Baltimore Orioles have shown over the past months, that they are a few pieces away from being competitive in the American League East. With a young core of position players and starters coming along including players such as Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Brian Matsuz. Along with an underrated manager, Buck Showalter. The people of Baltimore could see well played baseball for the first time in years. The days of Ryan Freel maning the outfield, and Garrett Atkins playing first are gone, while young, eletric players are taking their place . Adding Francisco Rodriquez to the mix could only help.
Before you slam me on how this would never happen and potentially be a huge mistake for the Baby Birds, lets look at the positive. Currently, Baltimore does not have any pitcher worthy of closing. Their is Alfredo Simon, who has impressed many this year with his ability to throw strikes when the Orioles needed him to, but would be better suited as a middle reliever or seventh inning standout. Koji Uehara has also pitched well, but is not the dominant ninth inning guy teams need to stay in contenion. Ill admit that his numbers are superb (1-0, 1.93 era, 1.14 whip as of 8/28) but Uehara is another middle reliever/setup man, who was never meant to be a closer. Jim Johnson has pitched horribly this season, and Michael González has done nothing to prove he's worthy of the money Baltimore gave him last offseason.This is a problem that must be adressed during the winter if the Orioles expect to become serious contenders, or even .500 canidates.
If they decide to go the free agency route once again, there is little to be desired. Brian Fuentes has a team option which might be picked up, but other than him, the market is bare. Jon Rauch, Pedro Feliciano, Chad Qualls, Mike Lincoln, come on, I saw more impressive names on my sons little league baseball team.
This is where K-Rod, might fit it. The Mets are not to found of Rodriguez after season long incidents which culmenated in Francisco getting put on the disqualifed list. It started in late May, when the New York Times reported that he and bullpen coach Ryan Niemann tangled during a game. A few months later, K-Rod was at it again, recently being charged with third degree assault after an altercation with his father-in-law after a Mets game in the Citi Field player lounge, in the process, breaking a finger on his pitching hand. That being said, Rodriguez has not always been a bad person. One should not be judged on a few mistakes, and his on field production makes up for that mishap.
Say what you want about Francisco's off the field problems, but he is a great closer. Back in 2008 he was able to save 62 games for the Angels, and has continued his success with the Mets. Before the incident, Rodriquez had a 2.20 era and 25 saves in 53 innings with the Mets. He would be able to anchor the Orioles bullpen, providing the closer they have lacked since trading away George Sherrill at last years deadline. Omar Minaya, the Mets current general manager has been quoted saying "I can tell you today we want him back, With that being said, let's see how the process goes." That does not sound like a man to confident does it?
There are rumors around the league saying the Mets are going to have to reduce payroll, and getting the 15 million left on K-Rods contract off the books would be a big help. That being said, they are not going to give him away for free. This is where the Orioles come in. If they were able to give Garrett Atkins a 6.5 million dollar deal, they should be able to take care of Francisco's. They could give the Mets Michael González and a pair of low level prospects such as Matt Angle and Richard Zigone, or Lou Montanez and Jim Hoey, who have little to offer the Orioles in the future to get this deal done. The Mets would receive a potential third/fourth outfielder in Angle or Montanez, and a closer in Gonzalez, who could revive his career back in the National League East along with the throw in reliever. This would give the Mets a solid replacement for Rodriguez, save them money, and get rid of a player who has caused nothing but trouble since hes got to New York, along with adding more talent to a talentless farm system. For the Orioles, they receive a top notch closer, who could help them out during the 2011 season, with the option of retaining him if he does well, or letting him walk if fails in the toughest division in baseball for an former closer, and average prospects. A true win-win for both sides.
Whether you think this is insane, a great idea, or simply don't give a damn about the Orioles closer situation, comment away.