HOUSTON (WFAN/AP) — WFAN and SI.com’s Jon Heyman has learned the Mets are looking into the possibility of voiding closer Francisco Rodriguez’s contract. If the team is successful in doing so, it could save at least $17 million, and potentially more.
The Mets are looking into whether the contract, for $37 million over three years, can be voided based on him injuring himself outside the course of play. Rodriguez suffered torn thumb ligaments during a fight with his girlfriend’s father and will miss the rest of the season. Rodriguez has been charged with assault in the case.
Rodriguez has apologized for the incident, but that might not get him of the hook. Team sources suggest the voiding of the contract is something that’s on the table for team higher-ups.
Rodriguez’s salary is $11.5 million in 2010 and also in 2011. He has a $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 with a $3.5 million buyout. That option vests with 100 games finished in 2010 and 2011 combined or 55 games finished in ’11, so it’s unlikely the option would go into affect anyway.
The players union might have a position on this though, as the Mets were only able to suspend Rodriguez initially for two games due to the power o the players union.
General manager Omar Minaya said publicly the team didn’t regret the contract. But perhaps behind the scenes, there are diferent thoughts being discussed.
The Mets announced the injury before Monday night’s game at the Houston Astros. They said the reliever didn’t travel to Texas with the team.
K-Rod was examined Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and the Mets said an MRI revealed the injury in his right hand.
Rodriguez was suspended for two days without pay following the fight outside a family room at the ballpark last Wednesday.
He apologized to teammates and fans, then gave up a leadoff double but didn’t allow a run in a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.
The 28-year-old reliever was arrested and charged with third-degree assault following the right. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14.
Rodriguez is accused of grabbing 53-year-old Carlos Pena, hauling him into a tunnel near the family lounge beneath Citi Field and hitting him in the face. Pena was taken to a hospital with a scrape and swelling above his eyebrow.
New York put the four-time All-Star on the restricted list without pay for two days, costing him $125,683 of his $11.5 million salary.
At 58-59, the Mets began Monday third in the NL East, 10 games behind division-leading Atlanta. In Rodriguez’s absence, they got complete-game shutouts from Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey, but now they likely will be without their closer for an extended period.
(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)