New York Mets right-hander Francisco Rodriguez says he would give up his closer's role if he were traded to a contender.
"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 Rays, and it's going to be for two months, I can go out there and help them out," Rodriguez said Thursday, according to the New York Daily News.
The Mets are 37-38 and in fourth place in the NL East, 9½ games behind the Phillies. With the team facing financial uncertainty related to the lawsuit brought by the trustee for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, players such as Rodriguez and shortstop Jose Reyes could be shopped leading up to next month's trade deadline.
The Yankees have been down this road before, and it didn't work out so well. This offseason, they signed Rafael Soriano, who saved 45 games for the Rays last season, to be the setup man for Mariano Rivera. But Soriano struggled in limited action early this year and currently sits on the disabled list with an elbow injury.
The Mets have incentive to dump Rodriguez. He has a $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 that kicks in if he finishes 55 games this season. He already has finished 28. If a team picks him up to be a setup man, that issue wouldn't come into play.
Joe Girardi was asked if the Yankees had a "need" for a reliever.
"David Robertson has done a great job for us," the Yankees manager said. "In baseball, you can never have too much pitching. I don't care if you're 20 deep. You can never have too much."
Rodriguez also has a no-trade clause to 10 teams, but he doesn't believe it's a big deal.
"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, according to the Daily News. "I mean, I would definitely love to stay here, but I have to be open to every possibility out there right now."
Rodriguez has 20 saves and a 3.25 ERA this season.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Daily News that he's not against making a deal with the crosstown Mets.
"I've done three deals with them and they were all pretty big," Cashman said. "(Armando) Benitez was a big name. (Robin) Ventura for David Justice was kind of a big deal, our need for their need.
"But it's complicated because ... no one wants to make a mistake in their own back yard. ... 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."
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley was used in this report.