NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The connection between Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez and manager Terry Collins goes back to 1999, when Collins was in his third and final season as manager of the Angels and Rodriguez was in his first year of pro ball.
Rodriguez eventually succeeded Troy Percival as the Angels’ closer. But before that happened, Percival insisted Rodriguez pose with him for a photo at his locker in Anaheim after the four-time All-Star recorded his 300th career save.
K-Rod had just nine big league saves when the picture was taken on July 28, 2004. On Wednesday night, he closed out the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers for career save No. 290.
“I was discussing that with my family the other night, when Percy pulled me aside for that picture,” Rodriguez said. “My brother asked me if I’m going to do the same thing when I get it. And I said I would love to. It seemed to me that that was just yesterday. And now seven years later, I’m about to accomplish something really special.”
Rodriguez started off the ninth by striking out Matt Kemp. He then gave up a single to Juan Uribe before retiring James Loney on a fielder’s choice grounder and tagging out Eugenio Velez on a dribbler up the line for his 22nd save of the season.
“I have all the trust in the world in K-Rod,” Collins said. “I mean, he gives up runs at times, but for the most part, when it’s crunch time, he gets the job done. He’s not afraid to throw strikes and go after hitters.”
Rodriguez has been the subject of recent trade speculation, with the non-roster deadline approaching on July 31. So the question is, will he get No. 300 in a Mets uniform?
“I would say yes,” Collins said. “I have no reason to doubt that he’d get it anyplace else. I would say he’ll get it here. I’m hoping he gets it in the next two weeks.”
A trade would be all about saving cash. If K-Rod finishes 55 games with the Mets this season, he’ll trigger a $17.5 million option for 2012. If he doesn’t, his contract can be bought out for $3.5 million.
According to a Daily News report on Wednesday, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is actively shopping K-Rod.
“I’m here, so that’s what I’m thinking — unless something happens,” K-Rod said. “Rumors are something I can’t control. As long as I’m wearing this uniform, I’m still here. And until somebody pulls me into the office and says that I’m going to go somewhere else, I’m not going to believe anything until it really happens.”
Well, will he? Let us know in the comments below…
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