Record-breaking Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez is seeking at least $75 million over five years, agent Paul Kinzer said Wednesday. K-Rod wants "at least" five years at "Mariano money," according to Kinzer, who called that price the "baseline" to get into the ballgame for the All-Star closer who set the single-season saves record this season. Kinzer made clear, however, that his client was hoping for even more. The agent declined to name a top target price.
Kinzer also declined to react to rumors that K-Rod will look for as much as $20 million a year. And why should he? Why set a maximum after the year K-Rod produced?
The Angels are expected to be joined in the derby by the Mets, who presumably have lost closer Billy Wagner for 2009 with an elbow injury that necessitated Tommy John surgery. Several other teams have been mentioned as being interested, including the Cardinals and Indians. But the steep price may limit the serious suitors to big-market teams. Some baseball people believe K-Rod more easily envisions himself in a big city, anyway.
The Angels are believed to have offered Rodriguez $33 million over three years back in spring training. They will surely try to keep star first baseman Mark Teixeira and may try to sign ace CC Sabathia, as well, so it's seems quite possible K-Rod's best deal may be found elsewhere.
The Mets are in great need of a closer but thus far are indicating a hesitance to give out such a long contract for a reliever. While a dip in velocity has raised some concern about K-Rod, he still pitched brilliantly this year in breaking Bobby Thigpen's save record. Overall, Rodriguez was 2-3 with a 2.24 ERA with 62 saves in 69 opportunities. The Mets gave Wagner a four-year deal when he was 33, but while it was worthwhile for most of the first three seasons, he didn't last the entire contract.