Fernando Rodney, White Knuckle Closer
Chillax, ya mooks ya's


Q.  Is Fernando Rodney a Legit Closer?

A.  He was never Craig Kimbrel, you realize.  

Last year's 48-for-51 saves thingy was a mirage, like it was a mirage for Jered Weaver to go 18-9 last season.  Like it was a mirage for Chris Davis to hit 53 home runs in 2013.  Ain't it funny how we sabermetricians just cannot tear our eyes off of the old stats?  :- )

Rodney "happened" to close out an amazing number of wins in 2014, but there was a lot of luck in involved in that.  And now he's got a 6.61 ERA, and there's a lot of luck in that too.  Fernando Rodney is what he is, what he's always been.  He hasn't lost anything off his fastball.


Q.  And what has Rodney always been?

A.  A good 7th, 8th inning setup man, who doesn't get fazed when he has to throw the 9th inning.  There are a number of these guys who get promoted to their level of incompetence, closing ... ;- ) we don't mean "incompetence" - we're just funnin' ya.

There are the Kimbrels and Chapmans of the world, and then there are the white-knuckle closers everybody else lives with.  Fernando Rodney did not get $14M per annum, like Rafael Soriano did.  The M's snagged him on a last-second deal at 2 years, $7M per.  Console yourself:  Brandon League is on a 3 x $7.5M deal.


Q.  When he shoots the arrow, he shoots it like a $15M closer.

A.  Gotta love this quote from the Times:

Rodney dominated, working a 1-2-3 ninth inning, showing a fastball that touched 98 mph and a Bugs Bunny changeup that left hitters flailing, while notching his 12th save in 13 chances this season.

“How about that?” McClendon said with a chuckle. “I told you, ‘They’re different animals.’ He turned it up a notch.” ...

“He gets those one-run leads, I think he’s a little bit more focused,” McClendon said. “Three-run lead, he’s a little more relaxed. It’s just the animal that most closers are. It’s not just him. I’ve seen it with other guys, too. It gets within one or two and they tighten down.”


What we are seeing here is that Rodney benefits from fear of failure.  With a 1-run lead, you can lose even if you pitch your best.  Any batted ball, anything that isn't a strikeout, can beat you.  Some people relax when they know they've got margin for error.  Others get that chill down their spine, and they lock into their zones.

Gotta give Fernando Rodney all the credit in the world.  There was a quote about Anatoly Karpov, world chess champ 1975-85, "It was only when taken by the throat that he truly started to fight."  I dig that personality.



Be honest now.  Would you step into the alley with that comrade?  Look at the guns on him.  And you know you'd never get a grip on his hair.

Think Rodney would take a 1 year, $7M extension rat here rat now?  I know at least one putz who'd give it to him.


Q.  Hey, what was the deal-io in the 8th again.  

A.  Carson Smith against the AL All-Stars ...

Probably some of you kiddies are unaware that in the 1934 All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell set the record for consecutive K's in the ASG.  As an issue completely separate from the improbability of 5 straight K's, the batters happened to be Ruth-Gehrig-Foxx-Simmons-Cronin.  


Smith was perfect in the 8th against Josh Donaldson (147 OPS+ this year, 135 in 2013-14), Jose Bautista (128 this year, 160 last year) and Edwin Encarnacion (120 this year, 151 last year).  Smith had to be perfect, and that's what he was.

Then, of course, the postgame talk was all about The Arrow.  :- )  You, the discerning SSI reader, are well aware that the money is more in the 8th inning than it is the 9th.  And you, the discerning SSI reader, are aware that the bullpen is not the problemo.


Dr. D




Brent's picture

Not saying it's a direct comp, but what Lloyd is saying about the Fernando Rodney Experience sounds a lot like what folks say about Jack Morris. Morris himself admitted that with a larger lead he didn't try to be nearly as pinpoint. But with a one run lead? Nails.

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