I know that in my career I’ve been in situations where I’ve been judged by employers or potential employers (and women too, but that’s another story) based on a single lackluster effort. It kind of sucks, but like most things that suck, you’ve sort of got to suck the suck up and move on.
Well, not so much if you’re Fernando Rodney. The Los Angeles Angels reliever, who, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon, “has — step by step — sunk as far as a reliever can go while still retaining a uniform,” is upset over the sporadic work he’s being assigned by manager Mike Scioscia.
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.
Sure. We’ve all been there, right? Only, I can’t help but shake the feeling that there isn’t much of a difference between comfortable Fernando Rodney and uncomfortable Fernando Rodney.
Last season with the Angels, Rodney was presumably comfortable appearing in 72 games. However, I struggle to understand Scioscia’s comfort level in letting him pitch that often given his below average strikeout rate and above average walk rate. This season isn’t so much the exception as it is more of the same from the wild reliever.
In fact, since 2006, Rodney’s strike zone totals have gotten progressively worse, to the point where less than 42% of his pitches are landing for strikes. Making Scioscia’s shelving of Rodney all the more justifiable has been the relatively excellent play of Scott Downs and Jordan Walden, as well as Rich Thompson and Bobby Cassevah.
Playing or not playing, low leverage or high leverage, Fernando Rodney simply isn’t that good. But fortunately for Fernandos everywhere, there will always be this:
Aside: If you think the AL MVP debate is heated, check out the YouTube comments section for that Fernando video.