Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rodney is new Tigers closer

Jim Leyland announced before the game today that Fernando Rodney has replaced Todd Jones as the Tigers closer. Jones has allowed runs in six of his last twelve appearances and has blown three of his last seven save opportunities with the one versus the White Sox on Friday night apparently being the last straw.

Fernando Rodney has not exactly been dominant since his return form the disabled list - 8 walks in 14 innings and a 5.14 ERA. However, he has not allowed a run in his last five appearances and has 9 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings during that span. Rodney also has prior experience as a closer - at the end of 2005 and as a injury replacement for Jones in 2006.

The other option might have been Joel Zumaya but his control has been awful since his return from his shoulder injury - 15 walks in 16 1/3 innings. I think Rodney is the best choice at this point. Despite the move, I imagine they are still looking to trade for relief help as they have a serious need for middle relievers.

4 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 30, 2008

    Lee, maybe you can help me out with this. I can understand that a manager may want to make an announcement as to what relief pitcher will pitch what innings in a future game to give the press something to print. But I don't understand why a manager would feel compelled to honor that. I understand why a team with a dominant closer is ready to make that announcement and stick to it. I don't understand why the manager of a team with a bunch of decent relief pitchers would want to restrict himself in the use of his bullpen.
    Maybe it all has something to do with the "closer's mentality". A closer is a pitcher that needs to get outs and do that in pressure packed situations. Is this different than the expectations for any other pitcher on the team? Are there managers that are telling certain pitchers they won't have to worry about pitching in pressure situations? Essentially, I want to know what winning-baseball-games reason there is for naming and sticking with a closer or set up guy or set up the set up guy guy. Is this some kind of a courtesy to the bullpen staff for their preparation? Are there certain pitchers that have to be ready to start warming up at the drop of a hat and others not? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it has to do with preparation. Pitchers are more comfortable when they know their roles. It seems to me that relievers should approach pitching the same way regardless of their roles but they apparently think differently.

    My biggest criticism is that I think the closer role has become too rigid. Teams automatically bring their closer in the ninth inning with a three run lead or less and usually with the bases empty. Is that the best use of your top reliever? I think the "closer" should be used in the most difficult situations and I don't believe that's a three run lead with the bases empty in the 9th inning. I'd like to see them come into games with men on base in the 8th or into tie games. Use them when you really need to. Don't just use them to pile up saves.

    I'm not sure if that answers your question but those are my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lee, if you haven't already read it, take a look at Jim Caple's article on closers on espn.com:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=caple/080805&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

    I think we're both reluctant to believe there can be reasons other than winning games for the way bullpens are managed. Caple seems to say that's the case though.

    It seems we're probably both more in favor of the Whitey Herzog bullpen philosophy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the article. I totally agree with Caple.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete

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