Francisco Rodriguez close to closing door on Angels
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LAS VEGAS -- The New York Mets are reportedly closing in on a three-year deal for closer Francisco Rodriguez, the apparent clincher being the Mets’ decision late Monday night to bump their original two-year, $24-million offer to three years and about $37 million.
‘I am more optimistic than I have ever been,’ agent Paul Kinzer, speaking to the New York Post, said of a possible deal with the Mets. ‘We will know more in the next 24 hours, but so far, everything has been positive.’
The Mets, whose bullpen was a major culprit in the team’s September collapse, are in need of a front-line closer to replace the injured Billy Wagner, who likely will miss all of 2009 following elbow surgery. Rodriguez, a 26-year-old right-hander, set a major league record with 62 saves last season.
If Rodriguez finalizes a deal with the Mets, the Angels, who have not had a first-round pick in three of the last four drafts, would receive a first-round draft pick and a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds as compensation.
Veteran set-up man Scot Shields would probably be given the first shot at the Angels’ closing job, but right-hander Jose Arredondo, who had an impressive rookie season (10-2, 1.62 earned run average in 52 games) and mixes a 95-mph fastball with a nasty split-fingered fastball, would also be a candidate.
-- Mike DiGiovanna