Fernando Rodney began this year as the Angels’ closer, but was quickly stripped of ninth-inning duties and has spent most of the season pitching in low-leverage situations while rookie Jordan Walden racks up saves.
Rodney vented his frustration yesterday, telling Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that he’s unhappy with the quick hook and how manager Mike Scioscia has used him since the demotion:
Four games. In 162 games, that’s not a lot. Look around baseball. A lot of teams have problems with their closers. St. Louis, Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox. They get more chances. I’ve walked too many guys, but I know I can do my job. I feel good. I’m a relief pitcher. My whole career, I’m pitching every day or every two or three days. I can’t get comfortable.
The funny thing about Rodney’s complaints is that despite not being “comfortable” he’s essentially pitched the same as always with a 4.50 ERA in 32 innings. During the previous four seasons he posted ERAs of 4.26, 4.91, 4.40, and 4.24.
Rodney has struggled to throw strikes more than usual, which has made it even harder for Scioscia to trust him in key situations, but ultimately he’s been the same mediocre reliever for going on five seasons now. The biggest difference is that the Angels aren’t desperate for relief help and Scioscia has been smart enough not to turn back to Rodney just because he saved a bunch of games in 2009.
Rodney will be a free agent this offseason and seems unlikely to get any offers to close or any offers that approach the $5.5 million per season he got from the Angels.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.