New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez's legal saga, stemming from an assault on his girlfriend's father at Citi Field in August, is expected to be completed on Friday at Queens Criminal Court. Rodriguez is expected to enter a plea bargain that will allow him to avoid jail time but require him to attend anger management, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.
"I feel like we're getting pretty close," said Paul Kinzer, Rodriguez's agent.
Rodriguez was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment after allegedly striking Carlos Pena outside the family room at Citi Field after an Aug. 11 game. Authorities later added a charge of criminal contempt for sending 56 text messages to Daian Pena, the mother of Rodriguez's twin children, in violation of an order of protection.
In terms of the playing field, the Mets and Rodriguez settled the closer's grievance with the organization in a deal announced Oct. 19. Rodriguez forfeited the $3.1 million in pay the Mets already had withheld, but the closer was reinstated from the disqualified list and the Mets restored his contract to guaranteed.
Rodriguez is owed $11.5 million in 2011. The closer has a vesting option for 2012, which will kick in at $17.5 million if he finishes 55 games and remains healthy for the final portion of next season.
Rodriguez had finished 55 games five straight years before this past season, when his ability to pitch was cut short by a torn ligament in his right thumb that was suffered in the Aug. 11 incident and required surgery. If the contract does not vest, Rodriguez will receive a $3.5 million buyout, raising the value of next season's deal to $15 million.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.