Big League Stew - MLB

Francisco Rodriguez now can throw his arms in the air and let loose a primal scream. Oh, he already has.

No, he didn't turn up 21 out the chute at the Bellagio.

He's under contract with the New York Mets, pending a physical and paperwork.

AP sources report that Rodriguez, who set a major league record with 62 saves this past season, agreed in principle to a $37-million, three-year deal on Tuesday.

Going from the Big A to the Big Apple, Rodriguez is charged with strengthening the back of the Mets bullpen, which tied for the NL lead in blown saves (St. Louis Cardinals, shame on you, too!) in 2008. Billy Wagner is gone and, as a result of Rodriguez's pending arrival, Luis Ayala, Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman et al will have to confine their save blowing to 6th, 7th and 8th innings, respectively.

K-Rod (as the tabloids, cheeky bloggers and others call him) had hoped for many more millions and a few more years on his deal, especially after breaking Bobby Thigpen's single-season record that had stood since 1990.

He also finished sixth in AL MVP voting and third in Cy Young, but a combination of factors — from too big of a suppy of relievers in the pool to concerns about his future durability to whatever effect the recession is having on the majors — limited his take in free agency.

Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman and any other potential closers still on the market have to find another work address.

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