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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Rumor Mill: Sandy Shopping Relievers K-Rod, Izzy, and Byrdak

Getting Shopped?
According to a report in the Daily News, two major league sources familiar with the Mets' thinking, Sandy Alderson and his staff have made clear to other teams that they are shopping closer Francisco Rodriguez (no surprise, given the expensive vesting option in his contract), setup man Jason Isringhausen and lefthanded specialist Tim Byrdak.

"They are really trying to move Isringhausen, and also Byrdak and K-Rod (before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline)," one of the sources said. "Those guys have pitched well, and they could help somebody."

With many contending teams looking for bullpen help, Alderson hopes he can parlay his veteran pitchers into decent minor leaguers - high-end prospects is probably a stretch - or at least salary relief.

Both Isringhausen and Byrdak have proven effective in their roles this season, and neither is under contract for 2012. It seems doubtful that either could bring a significant return in prospects, but the Mets will shop them aggressively, sources say, and see what market develops.

Rodriguez's case is made more complex by his 2012 contract option, which vests if he finishes 55 games, as he is on track to do. Although the option is technically $17.5 million, it is more accurately valued at $14 million, because of a $3.5 million buyout owed Rodriguez if his option does not vest.

Rodriguez has a limited no-trade clause covering 10 undisclosed teams, but has expressed a willingness to serve in a setup role for a contender such as the Yankees or Tampa Bay.

Although some teams will surely be wary of assuming the financial risk of trading for Rodriguez, others could view him as an alternative to free-agent-to-be closers such as Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell.

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