Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rodney Signs with Angels

Fernando Rodney signed a two year $11 million deal with the Angels today. After saving 37 games in 38 opportunities for the Tigers in 2009, he will have a different role in California. He'll be the set up man for left-handed closer Brian Fuentes.

I always thought Rodney was under appreciated by Tigers fans. He was never a great pitcher but he was good when healthy. He played an important role during the pennant winning 2006 season helping Joel Zumaya set up closer Todd Jones. Rodney compiled a 3.52 ERA in 63 games that year.

In 2009, Fernando had 4.40 ERA in 73 games but that was inflated by a few really bad outings in non-save situations. When the save was on the line last year, he came through 97% of the time. He also finished 8th among American League relievers in Win Probability Added, a statistic which gives pitchers more credit for higher pressure innings. The Tigers would not have made it to game 163 without the work of Rodney.

Like him or dislike him, Rodney had style. We'll remember the short (for a pitcher) stocky righty strutting around the mound wearing his hat crooked like a tough guy. Some complained about the cap and I don't usually like that sort of thing but it somehow fit Rodney. It went well with his sinister goatee and the seemingly uninterested expression on his face, win or lose. Beneath the cool exterior though, you sensed from the beads of sweat rolling off his face that he was a competitor, who did care.

The Tigers have now lost Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, Edwin Jackson, and Marcus Thames since the end of the season. Fans are looking forward to the new young players - Max Scherzer, Scott Sizemore, Alex Avila, Austin Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, to name a few. And there is every reason for us to be excited by such a promising group. Still the departing veterans will be missed and may not be replaced as easily as some think.


  1. Lee,
    Even though Rodney was effective in save situations, I'm sure many other Tiger fans (besides myself)will have much less gastro-intestinal difficulties in late inning situations this year. Baseball is supposed to be fun entertainment which provides pleasure and adds enjoyment to our lives...Rodney equated to stress...I often found myself angry at his inability to throw a strike...I'm glad he's gone...I'm sure Jim Leyland's cardiologist is happy too...
    Although I don't comment much, I always read your posts and much appreciate the stat driven research you do...Thanks so much, and happy holidays to you!

  2. Arlie, I realize Rodney created a lot of stress. I felt it too! I don't think that's going to go away next year though. They've got some promising young arms but I'm not sure any of them are ready to close.

    Thanks for reading my posts. Happy holidays.


  3. While Rodney may have been shaky to a viewer, coming into a game cold and being relied upon to shut down the opposition is NOT the easiest thing a ball player can do, and yet Rodney did it superbly.

    Todd Jones used to drive me crazy, yet I felt a lot more comfortable with Rodney on the bump.

    We Tigers fans should be used to the lack of a solid lock it down closer by now, and unfortunately it will probably be the same in the foreseeable future. I had so much hope for Zumaya, but I don't think he can hold up to the wear and tear of pitching in a 162 game season.

    Rodney, while making the 9th inning exiting, did get the job done.



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