Mets, agent deny K-Rod speculation

Mets, agent deny K-Rod speculation

NEW YORK -- The Mets and the agent representing Francisco Rodriguez have discredited a report in a Venezuelan newspaper that the free-agent relief pitcher had traveled to New York for a physical examination, a routine, procedural step these days when a club is about to sign a new player.

A Mets official who preferred his name not be used characterized the report in El Universal as "not true," and agent Paul Kinzer said his client was in Venezuela and that the report was inaccurate.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya didn't respond to a telephone call.

"Unless I know nothing about it, there's no truth to it," Kinzer said via cellular phone from the Atlanta area. He said he had spoken with his client, who had told a reporter in Venezuela of the need for a flight for business purposes. "But it wasn't for a physical," Kinzer said. "It didn't involve this."

The Mets official who did speak acknowledged the club had been in contact with Kinzer, but the agent said no offers had been made by any club for the 26-year-old closer who established a big league record for saves, 62, in the 2008 season. A delay in sending medical information to the clubs interested in Rodriguez, Kinzer said, had slowed the process.

El Universal based its report on an unnamed source who was quoted in the report as having said, "The Mets have made the best offer so far, though I know [Rodriguez] wanted more money than what was offered."

Kinzer had been quoted publicly about his client's asking price last month, putting it at $75 million for five years. The Mets have said privately that if that figure were accurate, they would likely pursue a different free-agent closer, namely Brian Fuentes. They also said they would wait for Kinzer to lower his asking price.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.