PHOENIX -- The focus all season long, with Francisco Rodriguez, was the number of games the Mets closer finished.
Now, with time to spare, K-Rod is finished as a Met.
The Mets announced late Tuesday night, after the conclusion of the All-Star Game, that they had traded Rodriguez and "cash considerations" to the Brewers for two players to be named later.
In other words, this was a salary dump for the Mets, who will begin their second half Friday with a 46-45 record and trailing the Braves by 71/2 games in the chase for the National League wild card.
"We thank Frankie for his contributions to the Mets and wish him well with the Brewers," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. "This trade allows us to develop and more fully utilize other members of our 2011 bullpen and offers some payroll relief, as well."
Rodriguez, making $11.5 million this season, has a $17.5-million vesting option (against a $3.5-million buyout) that goes into effect if he finishes 55 games this year. With 34 games finished for the Mets, Rodriguez was on pace to hit that threshold.
The Mets shopped him aggressively to teams, hoping that a club would bite on him as a setup man (thereby avoiding the vesting option). And despite threats voiced Monday by Rodriguez's new agent Scott Boras that K-Rod wouldn't want to set up for anyone, the Brewers took the plunge.
Milwaukee didn't announce per se that Rodriguez will set up for successful closer John Axford, who is 23-for-25 in save opportunities. Yet that seems the obvious route in order to avoid that option.
"Francisco has been one of the best relievers in the game for many years,'' Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said in a statement. "He is a high-quality arm, who will be a tremendous asset to our bullpen as we prepare for the final months of the regular season and playoffs.''
Said Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who won All-Star Game Most Valuable Player honors: "That's awesome. He's going to be a big help for us."
The next Mets veteran likely to be traded is outfielder Carlos Beltran. San Francisco is among the interested teams.