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.