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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rumor Mill: K-Rod would not mind being used as setup if traded

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez says he doesn’t want to be traded to a team that would use him as a setup man.

He would, however, consider filling that role for a club that acquired him, signed him to a contract extension and returned him to the closer’s role next season.

“That would be great,” Rodriguez said Friday. “That would be no problem.”

Rodriguez, 29, has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 10 undisclosed teams. His market would shrink further if he said publicly that he was only willing to close.

But that is not his position.

While Rodriguez said, “I honestly don’t really want to go anywhere else and set up,” he added, “at the same time, I’m not closing the door” – particularly if he is asked to set up only for the rest of this season and assured of his future.

The Rangers are an example of a club that might be interested in Rodriguez under such conditions. They could use Rodriguez as a setup man, then make him the closer next season and move Neftali Feliz to the rotation.

Under that scenario, the Rangers would not need to worry about Rodriguez finishing 55 games and guaranteeing his $17.5 million option for next season. They could sign Rodriguez to an extension at a lower salary.

Rodriguez currently is on pace to finish 62 games. Teams might balk at acquiring him as a closer even if the Mets contribute $3.5 million to cover what would have been his buyout, something the team is willing to do.

Rodriguez is 15-for-16 in save opportunities, and had a 0.74 ERA in 25 games before allowing three runs in the ninth inning Friday night in a 6-4 loss to the Phillies.

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