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.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.
Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:
Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.
Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.
Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.
Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.