While www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brian+Cashman" title="Brian Cashman">Brian Cashman seems to be looking far and wide for a setup man to help his ailing bullpen, maybe the www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+Yankees" title="New York Yankees">Yankees general manager should check across town. www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+Mets" title="New York Mets">Mets www.nydailynews.com/topics/Francisco+Rodriguez+(Baseball)" title="Francisco Rodriguez (Baseball)">closer Francisco Rodriguez told the Daily News Thursday that he would not rule out a change in roles to go to a contending team such as the Yankees.
"If I am going to be traded, obviously I want the opportunity to close out games, but if it's going to be good teams like the Yankees or the www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tampa+Bay+Rays" title="Tampa Bay Rays">Rays, and it's going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out," Rodriguez said after the Mets' 4-1 victory over the A's at www.nydailynews.com/topics/Citi+Field" title="Citi Field">Citi Field Thursday.
Rodriguez is one of the Mets who could be on the block as next month's trade deadline looms. With former Rays closer www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rafael+Soriano" title="Rafael Soriano">Rafael Soriano currently injured and having been inconsistent in his adapted role as the Yankees setup man, and with www.nydailynews.com/topics/Joba+Chamberlain" title="Joba Chamberlain">Joba Chamberlain out for the season, Cashman admitted he has been on the lookout for a replacement.
The fiery Rodriguez could actually be a good fit for the Yankees.
He is nearing the end of a three-year, $37 million deal with the Mets that includes a $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in if he finishes 55 games this season. K-Rod pitched a perfect ninth Thursday for his 20th save of the season and his 28th finished game.
The News reported last month that Rodriguez would consider waiving his 2012 option if the acquiring team was willing to offer him a multi-year deal. As a setup man for www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mariano+Rivera" title="Mariano Rivera">Mariano Rivera, however, he would not be finishing games, so the vesting option would not come into play.
Rodriguez's deal also has a no-trade clause to 10 teams, but he did not seem to feel that was a big obstacle.
"Honestly I don't even know what (teams) are on the no-trade clause, I haven't even been asked about that yet," Rodriguez said. "I mean I would definitely love to stay here, but I have to be open to every possibility out there right now."
Rodriguez knows he has to be ready for anything because he understands the Mets' landscape right now. With ownership struggling financially and beleaguered by legal problems while the team lingers just below .500, the Mets could soon be sellers.
Rodriguez also had a rough year with the Mets last season, which included his arrest after assaulting his ex-girlfriend's father at Citi Field and injuring his thumb in the process. He is going through anger management counseling, and teammates say they've noticed a change in him.
At least Rodriguez knows the highs and lows of the city.
K-Rod's revelation comes a day after Cashman made it clear that he was not averse to making a deal with the Mets.
"I've done three deals with them and they were all pretty big," Cashman had told The News. "(Armando) Benitez was a big name. (Robin) www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ventura" title="Ventura">Ventura for www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Justice" title="David Justice">David Justice was kind of big deal, our need for their need.
"But it's complicated because ... no one wants to make a mistake in their own backyard. ... No one's going to make that type of mistake too easily. The only way you would typically line up to do something is if the opposing side is so motivated to move whatever they've got."
In this case, motivation seems apparent, on both sides.