- Faith and Fear in Flushing - https://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Bring the Wood

I wake up most days with my mind on Met things that have already happened. Today I woke up with my mind on Met things that have not yet occurred. I woke up this morning and decided I wanted K-Rod as our closer.

Then I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and decided differently.

The only American League team to whom I pay the least bit of going attention (in a positive sense) is the Angels. I've followed Francisco Rodriguez since he blew away everybody he faced in the 2002 postseason, which is when I latched onto the Angels as, more or less, my A.L. team. I enjoyed watching him take the closer reins and was quite gratified when he blotted the name Bobby Thigpen from history's upper echelons. He is dynamic, he is exciting, he is brilliant.

He also scares the living spit out of me. He is Billy Wagner with younger, better stuff, but he's Billy Wagner not in that oh no, here comes Wagner, we the opposition are screwed way we looked at Wagner when he was an Astro, but rather in the sense we've gotten to know Billy Wagner first-hand. Rodriguez is Wagner in that what now? mode you attach to your own closer from watching him too closely and too often. I love K-Rod, but in an extracurricular, other-league manner. He comes here, and the ninth-inning butterflies are swirling while still caterpillars — assuming the caterpillars aren't routinely squashed in the cocoons of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings per usual.

K-Rod closing for the Mets? It could be great. It could be much worse. After these last two seasons of bullpen roulette, I'm not prepared for much worse. It can't get much worse. It can, but it can't. It just can't.

Thus, after deciding differently this morning, I leaned to Kerry Wood, someone I'd been writing off as injury-prone since his name first came up as closing possibility.

I've seen guys written off as injury-prone shake it off (as well as guys in that position who simply get more injured). Wood's only 2008 injury of disabling note was a blister, wasn't it? He didn't look too terribly blistered when saving two games against the Mets in the final week, did he? These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. Let me know if I'm crazy. I'm not suggesting a 20-year, $400 million Citi deal for Wood or the kind of terms K-Rod's going to command, even in a slow market. I'd sign Wood for no more than two years. I think the guy still throws very hard, will still have something very big to prove and will come here a lot cheaper than K-Rod or Brian Fuentes. Fuentes I want little part of given that he flopped as a closer once (in the only season when it really mattered for his team) and I wouldn't trust too many pitchers with Colorado in their background…even if supposedly the construct is “if he can pitch in Denver, he can pitch anywhere.” I understand he's lefthanded and lefties definitely need apply considering the presence of the lefty-laden world champs in our division, but the idea of Fuentes makes me squirm. He'll come here for too much money, he'll blow a couple of saves and then we're in “he can't handle New York” territory.

Underinformed speculation on my part? You bet. Talking out my asphalt? Could be. It's December, it snowed overnight, I woke up, for a Met change, wondering what's next. Catch me in a few hours and I could change my story completely.