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.
Craig Mish of SiriusXM reports that the Brewers have put together a trade offer for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. He describes the club’s interest in Yelich as “strong,” and notes that other teams remain in the mix.
Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins was recently described by his agent as “irretrievably broken” following the trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. His agent said Yelich “needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win.” Understandably, teams have been calling the Marlins asking about him.
The 26-year-old hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances last season. He’s in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49.57 million contract of which $44.5 million remains. Given how slow the free agent market has been this offseason, it’s difficult to say exactly what he would get if he were to hit the open market, but it is safe to say that his current contract is very much a bargain for his team, which only makes him even more attractive to inquiring teams.
The Brewers are an interesting team to get involved in the Yelich sweepstakes. Their outfield already has three capable players in Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, and Keon Broxton. Yelich would still be an upgrade, but the Brewers’ resources may be better spent in other areas like the starting rotation.
Given Yelich’s displeasure and Jeter’s insistence on stripping the Marlins bare — including, potentially, the iconic home run sculpture — it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a trade happen.