When Fernando Rodney signed on the dotted line, not only did he receive two years and 11 million dollars. He received, for the most part, a pretty tough entrance into the Angels fan base. In the land of Detroit Tigers baseball land, a sigh of relief the size of a tidal wave has rolled over the fans. You know those moments when you light up a cigar, just for the hell of it? In tiger land, closing the book on the reliever that once decided it would be cool to throw the baseball as hard as he could into the stands is bitter sweet.
Don’t let the nearly 100% save percentage fool you.
The man couldn’t find the strike zone consistently if it were the size of balloon boy’s get away vehicle. His .270 opponent’s average is damn right horrid. Sorry Angels fans, but I have to laugh at the fact that Fernando Rodney will be depended on in non-save situations. Sure, he has the stuff to be a setup man. His change up continues to develop, and the way Rodney over pitches, there will be times where he comes close to 100 miles an hour. That’s intriguing in the late innings to interested teams. Didn’t it click though to the Angels, when hardly anybody was wanting to pitcher when the off-season started. Didn’t it click when Houston chose Brandon Lyon over Rodney? Didn’t it make sense when the Orioles chose Mike Gonzalez over Fernando? Supposedly even the Phillies lacked interest in throwing gasoline on the fire.
I’m left wondering what is bigger, Rodney’s ego, his paycheck, or the 6.08 ERA he put together in non-save situations last season. If Mike Scioscia thinks he went nuts last year with Brian Fuentes in the game, he better better get a tight grasp on that bullpen phone. At points it’s going to get ugly.
As weird as it sounds, those moments are going to be the ones this Tigers fan misses.
I don’t know why I enjoyed the abuse of a Fernando Rodney ninth inning, but I am surely going to miss it. Maybe it’s the pressure and roller coaster moments, not knowing if the lead was going to last pitch to pitch. Maybe it was the folly he brought to the mound.
A folly that goes beyond lack of location. When Fernando Rodney made his way to the mound as the closer in 2009, something just didn’t feel right. By the time he got off it, you were either chuckling with rage, or you had put a television remote through your new 50″ plasma TV.
Even though I built up enough frustration during the season to pull a Kevin Youkilis, I supported Rodney as the closer and rooted for him. Even if sometimes it meant he would whoop my hopes and predictions with a little Kid Rick magic.
Maybe it’s because in my time as a Tigers fan, I have only come to know closers who make the ninth inning seem like the second coming of World War II. As strange as it is to say, I won’t will miss Fernando Rodney in the bullpen everyday. Something about that guy will be missed. I can’t quite put my finger on it, or even near it.
But for some reason I can’t wait to see that ninth inning man in action. It won’t be in a Tigers uniform, but hopefully he will win the closers job in Anaheim somehow. For the sake of the Angels and the sake of their fans.