Ex-Tigers pitcher Fernando Rodney, according to MLB Trade Rumors has signed a one year deal with the Tampa Rays. One of the more exciting pitchers the Tigers have had in recent history, both good and bad, Rodney has fallen fast since his 2009 season with the Tigers in which he saved 37 of 38 save opportunities. Poised to get a pay day, the Tigers went in another direction, signing Jose Valverde as their closer, and haven’t regretted it one bit.
Tampa offers a new direction for the effervescent Rodney, and potentially a new opportunity to still show that he can close out games. After all, the Rays have incumbent Kyle Farnsworth, and he, like Rodney, doesn’t always seem to be the most trustworthy guy at the end of games. After a disappointing couple of seasons in which Fernando was being Fernando for the Angels, he got himself a one year deal that is supposed to be around the 2M dollar mark.
2011 was a poor season for Rodney, even by his standards. He only pitched 32 innings for the Angels, and relinquished his closing job to rookie Jordan Walden. Walden tried to give it back, but when Rodney had his chances, he squandered them away via the base on balls. Rodney, who has always had control issues since his days in Detroit, took it to a new level last season. In his 32 innings, he walked 28 batters, and only struck out 26. It marked the first time in his career the right hander walked more than he struck out. Rodney did battle injury last season as he had problems with his back, and that could potentially explain the elevated walk rate, even for him. Rodney had a BB rate of 7.9/9, while his career is 4.9/9. Both of course are way too high to be an effective reliever on a regular basis.
Despite the headaches, and the nervousness that a lot of fans felt when Rodney stepped on the mound, I wish him well in Tampa. He was always regarded as a good teammate and a guy that people in the clubhouse liked. When he is on, he can be a pretty good pitcher, and could potentially be a quality signing for Tampa.
Rodney has always been an enigma of sorts. His Bugs Bunny change up is one of a handful of pitches around baseball that can make a major league hitter look ridiculously silly. However, his fastball command has always been bad enough to stop him from being a top tier reliever.
At least he is going somewhere where he won’t make the fans nervous. It’s not like people actually go watch the Rays. What a shame that is by the way.