Brewers, Mets Both Benefit From Trade

Brewers, Mets Both Benefit From Trade

The trade of star closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets to the Brewers works well for both teams. The Brewers added a proven closer who's amassed nearly 300 saves before age 30, while the Mets ridded themselves of the vesting option that hung over them like a noose.

The Brewers look like the bigger winner for now, though, as they badly needed bullpen depth in the tight NL Central and did just that by acquiring Rodriguez plus cash ($5 million, which covers about half K-Rod's remaining 2011 salary and the buyout for 2012 on the vesting option, which is $17.5 million for next year if he finishes 55 games this season). But the Brewers also may have bought themselves a bit of an unwanted issue. They already have a talented closer in John Axford, who has 23 saves and a 2.83 ERA,so they could wind up with a closer controversy.

While they're unlikely to immediately remove Axford from that role, and K-Rod's vesting option provides ample incentive to stick with Axford at the end, Rodriguez's position now is that he wants to stay as a closer. "He's a closer, he's one of the game's best closers,'' Rodriguez's new agent, Scott Boras, said before the trade to Milwaukee was consummated. "And he wants to remain a closer.''

Brewers GM Doug Melvin made the trade before checking with K-Rod, but Boras and Melvin spoke about the subject shortly after the trade. Boras made the case that K-Rod should close, suggesting he wouldn't do nearly as well setting up, while Melvin apparently made no commitment, suggesting only that things "will work out,'' or words to that effect.

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