Detroit Tigers: Francisco Rodriguez attitude is not what the team needs
The Detriot Tigers and their pitching staff have enough issues without bad attitudes adding to the drama.
The Detroit Tigers closer-turned-reliever Francisco Rodriguez shared his feelings with the press yesterday and it wasn’t pretty.
It appears that Rodriguez is frustrated with his current role with the team. And, he’s frustrated with what appears to be a lack of communication.
According to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, Rodriguez commented on his current role in clean-up:
"“Am I being judged on 10 outings? What about the other 400-plus saves? What about the almost 1,000 appearances?"
Solid history but troublesome present
This comment is in response to the fact that Rodriguez 437 saves over the course of his 16-year career. As far as currently playing relief pitchers, he has more saves than any of them. Overall, he is sitting in the #4 spot with 39 fewer saves than Lee Smith.
If Rodriguez continues to serve as a clean-up pitcher, he won’t have the opportunity to catch up to Smith.
It is clear that Rodriguez is upset with his current role. In the same article, Rodriguez said:
"“They have to test me? … I haven’t pitched the last 15 years, being consistent, putting up numbers being mop-up. That’s not how I’ve made my living….But I guess I’ve got to be ready when I’m told and that’s it.”"
Numbers don’t lie
Rodriguez’s assessment of his performance in his first 15 years of pitching as a closer is accurate, but in his 16th season – not so much. He was consistent – but in a bad way. He gave up too many home runs and contributed to more losses than wins. This is why he was removed from his closing spot.
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After blowing his fourth save of the season on May 7, Rodriguez obviously was struggling. In 2016, he gave up a total of six home runs. But, this season, he had already given up six by May 31. His ERA of 6.23 is the biggest he’s ever had. The closest he’s come to a number that high was in 2012 when he played with the Milwaukee Brewers; his ERA was 4.38.
Yes, Rodriguez has been a solid closer for several years. It seems odd that he is that unaware of his drop-off this season. Just looking at statistics from 2016 and comparing them to 2017, he is not the pitcher he was last year or in the many years prior.
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By venting to the press about the coaching staff, Rodriguez looks weak. Blaming someone else is not the way to take care of business. Players age. Their arms tire. Pitchers find other roles to help their teams. Instead of griping about his role on the team, Rodriguez should do what he can to help the team win.