Closer Franciso Rodriguez came to the New York Mets with a lot of hype. Let’s look back at the time he spent closing in Flushing.
This offseason, the New York Mets made a big splash by trading for All-Star closer Edwin Diaz. Diaz led the majors in saves with 57 and posted an ERA of 1.96 while striking out 124 batters in just 73.1 innings. Diaz is just 25 and will remain under team control for the next few years. Acquiring the lockdown closer makes this 2019 team a contender.
Diaz’s 57 saves is second in baseball history for most saves in a single season. Who has the record for saves? No other than former Met Francisco Rodriguez, who the Mets acquired after setting the record.
Rodriguez was the last All-Star closer they acquired in the offseason, signing him to a three-year, $37 million contract in 2008. He changed his number for 57 to 75, due to Johan Santana wearing 57 at the time.
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After the signing, fans were pumped. He was one of the best closers at the time. He was coming off a dominant tenure with the Los Angeles Angels. From 2005 to 2008, he was a two-time All-Star and recorded 194 saves. In 2008, Rodriguez went off, setting an MLB record by recording 62 saves in a single-season.
When the Mets signed him, he was only 27. This was a huge move and one that was expected to help the team improve. The move was made to replace Billy Wagner, who required Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2008 season. Adding K-Rod was a much-needed move to improve the 2009 Mets.
Rodriguez recorded his first save as a Met against the Cincinnati Reds on April 6th, 2009. He had a minor back issue in the first half, but he still managed to make it to the 2009 All-Star game. He pitched a scoreless 9thinning for the National League. He finished the 2009 season 3-6 with a 3.71 ERA, converting 35 out of 42 saves. This was the first year since 2004 without at least 40 saves. However, this was his fifth straight season with at least 30 saves. The 2009 Mets were an injury-ridden team that missed the playoffs for a third straight year.
His 2010 season was cut short, due to a suspension for an altercation with a family member. Even with a suspension, he pitched in 53 games, going 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 25 saves. Returning to the club at the beginning of the 2011 season, K-Rod started off strong. In 42 games for the Mets, he went 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 23 saves. His tenure with the Mets concluded after he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with cash for pitchers Adrian Rosario and Danny Herrera.
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The Venezuela native had a short, but impactful tenure in Flushing. Even though he never put up numbers similar to the ones he did for the Angels, he recorded 83 saves in just 165 games. Despite not making the playoffs with the Mets, K-Rod remained a high-caliber closer for all of his games in orange and blue.