The news conference introducing Francisco Rodriguez was held in a Citigroup building in Long Island City and started 20 minutes late. Citibank's computers were down this morning, meaning many customers could not retrieve account information. I just hope the delay didn't involve K-Rod standing in front of a Citibank ATM blinking "File not found" while Omar Minaya was trying to assure him that the stadium-naming deal was still going through and his contract was safe.
K-Rod handled the questions well, especially the one about whether he was disappointed that he did not get as much money as he had hoped for. But when he put on the number 75, I couldn't help but wonder if it would constantly remind him of the five-year, $75 million contract his agent had initially proposed.
Then again, when I see a free-agent pitcher put on number 75, I can't help but think of Barry Zito.
When Jerry Manuel helped K-Rod on with his jersey, he joked that 75 would be the number of saves he would get. I would take 75 over two years. Just keep that blown save number low.
My only complaint about the news conference came when Omar Minaya, in his introduction, said, "One thing we lacked last year was being able to close out the game."
I'm no huge Billy Wagner fan, but during the 2/3 of a season that Wagner played last year, the Mets did have one of the better closers in baseball. The problem was more in getting to Wagner.
Had Wagner stayed healthy last year, the Mets would have likely gotten to the postseason, but the rest of the bullpen and Wagner's struggles in big games would have doomed them in the playoffs.
Were Wagner healthy today, the Mets would not have signed K-Rod, though I hope they would have still made the J.J. Putz trade, giving them both a setup man and heir apparent closer. And if Wagner struggled or got hurt, Putz might have gotten the job sooner.
With Wagner out all of next year, this is all moot - these were moves the Mets had to make. But Wagner deserves acknowledgement that, when healthy, he was pretty good and sometimes great.
Still, I'm glad Wagner wasn't at the news conference, pretending to be happy to pass the torch to K-Rod. No need for a scene similar to when Derek Jeter was helping A-Rod on with his jersey, pretending to be pleased that A-Rod was joining the Yankees.
But I am certainly pleased that K-Rod is joining the Mets!
Will K-Rod live up to expectations? Tell us what you think.