Friday, July 30, 2010
On booing Francisco Rodriguez
Howard Megdal on booing a guy with a 2.44 ERA:
He’s been a good closer, by any reasonable measure: the Mets have called on him again and again to finish off the other guys, and the vast majority of the time, that’s exactly what he’s done.
But the fans don’t generally like him all that much. They boo him when he comes into games, or at least some of them do — enough to make themselves understood.
"What can I tell you?" a weary “K-Rod” said about the fan reception, speaking at his locker to a single reporter following the Mets’ 4-0 victory against the Cardinals last night. "I can't control what they say."
The problem, really, is that Francisco Rodriguez is not Mariano Rivera.
The Mets fans, with good reason, feels intense frustration over all the Yankees have, past, present and future. Despite sharing the same rich market, and therefore ostensibly the ability to compete for titles, the two teams really aren’t in the same league.I think that's part of it.
I think 2009 is part of it, too. After setting an all-time record with 62 saves in 2008, Rodriguez signed with the Mets for three years and $37 million. At that point, his career ERA was 2.35 and he'd averaged48 saves in four seasons as the Angels' closer.
So you can understand the fans' frustrations when K-Rod's first season with the Mets included a 3.71 ERA (easily the highest of his career) and only 35 saves. And there was also the way Rodriguez failed (relatively speaking): His walks were up and his strikeouts were down. Frankly, he wasn't worth anywhere nearwhat the Mets were paying him last season.
This season's been different. No, he's still not worth what the Mets are paying him. But that's a baseball issue rather than a Francisco Rodriguez issue; very few veteran closers are worth the money they're paid. He's been pretty good; the walks are down significantly, the strikeouts up a little, and the strikeout-to-walk ratio actually a little better than his career mark.
But the pitcher the Mets probably thought they were getting? He's probably gone forever. Rodriguez just doesn't throw as hard as he used to. He's still hard to hit, and he's done a fine job of limiting the home runs. But when his contract expires after next season, the Mets will probably be happy to move on.
And so, apparently, will many of their fans.