Why is Fernando Rodney our closer?

Submitted by Sommy on August 22nd, 2009 at 1:05 AM

Honestly. I realize he's only blown one save out of 25 this year, but he puts men on base EVERY SINGLE GAME HE CLOSES. Dude is worse than Todd Jones.


david from wyoming

August 22nd, 2009 at 1:20 AM ^

His WHIP is high at 1.30, with only Brad Lidge (1.83), Matt Capps (1.74), Kerry Wood (1.38), and Matt Lindstrom (1.76) all having higher WHIP's and being closers. But, I would highly suspect that Rodney's numbers are inflated due to his poor pitching in non-save situations.

This mental picture of a closer that comes in the 9th inning and pitches 1-2-3 each and every game is a pretty big myth in baseball. Joe Nathan has the best WHIP of closers at 0.79, so someone gets on base in 8 out of 10 games he pitches on average. Think about that.

david from wyoming

August 22nd, 2009 at 1:52 AM ^

Oh hey, I missed something. Papelbon has a WHIP of 1.31, nearly identical WHIP as Rodney. Should Boston move Papelbon to the 8th inning and move Ramon Ramirez with a WHIP of 1.19 to the 9th inning?

The problem with baseball is that players can be judged based on numbers only with very careful analysis. Adam Wainwright, CC Sabathia, Jason Marquis, and Josh Beckett are all tied with 14 wins. Do all 4 starting pitchers have the same talent?


August 22nd, 2009 at 2:43 AM ^

"Closer" - a relief pitcher who specializes in closing out games, i.e., getting the final outs in a close game.

Out of 26 opportunities in 2009 to get the final outs in a close game, Rodney has done it 25 times. The ERA and WHIP are beside the point (and better than average anyway)! Either the Tigers maintain their lead and win the game or they don't. With Rodney in the game, they've done it 96% of the time. I'll take that stat over your ERA and WHIP boohooing any day of the week.


August 22nd, 2009 at 2:33 AM ^

In save situations, Rodney is 26/27. The one blown save, the Tigers eventually won that game. In save situations, Rodney has a 1.33 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP and MORE k's thank innings pitched. Over HALF of the runs Rodney has allowed occurred with leads of 4 or more runs. (11 out of 21 of them) 4 more of those runs were in games where a save was at stake, accounting for 15 of the 21 runs. That leaves 6 unaccounted for runs. 3 of those came in the game where Rodney walked 3 in a row. However, that is one single game. (Which the Tigers still won) At this point, I've counted 18 of Rodney's 21 earned runs, leading to ONE loss. The other 3 runs? All 3 of those other runs led to losses. 2 losses. Rodney's other loss was an unearned run. Rodney has cost us TWO games. ALL YEAR. Would you like me to go further? I will. Rodney carries an FIP of 3.90, indicating he is not pitching that out of his mind either. His GB/FB rate is 1.64, his highest since 2006. His line drive percent is 9, nearly 20% lower than last year. Ground ball percent is up 16 percent since last year. His fly ball and HR/FB rates are about the same as last year. You know what this indicates? The fact that he's getting the same amount of fly balls as last year, but the line drives have turned into grounders show that his STUFF has vastly improved over last year. Now let's talk about that "stuff." Rodney's fastball is rated at 0.73 runs above average per 100 pitches (compared to the average MLB pitcher). The slider is -19 per 100. The change is 1.46 above average. The difference between this year and previous years? Rodney throws a vastly lower amount of fastballs and sliders. (He virtually does not throw the slider anymore, at only 0.3 percent of all his pitches thrown). Because of this, Rodney's fastball has become much more effective. It went from the major league average to ABOVE the average. The change was even rated a 1/2 run below last year. That's a 2 run improvement. Finally, Clutch rating, or how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment. Rodney holds a rating of over a +1 run than the average pitcher. Yeah, stat analysis is fun!


August 22nd, 2009 at 1:44 AM ^

No, it's not. His stats are clear indication that he is eventually going to head south as a pitcher and that we need a more reliable closer.

I know you and everyone else seems to believe Rodney is the answer, but might does not make right. Rodney is a poor closer.


August 22nd, 2009 at 3:07 AM ^

And you really think it's that simple? Who is going to replace him? Zumaya? Perry? Please.

Just because our closer situation is an apparent non-problem at this point doesn't mean it's not going to be a problem very, very soon. You're not going to just automatically plus someone in that role.


August 22nd, 2009 at 12:06 PM ^

You just lost the ability to claim you've been trying to make even a semblance of a point.

Claim #1: Rodney's an awful closer.

Reality: Umm, well, no, actually he's not. 25/26, turns up the performance in close games, blah blah, etc.

Claim #2: You back up a little bit, allowing for the fact that Rodney's currently performing just fine, and claim that you actually meant he's going to be a terrible closer in the future. Because he just is and stuff. And when he does, we're screwed! We can't turn to Zumaya, we can't turn to Perry, what are we going to do?!! Ahhhh!

Reality: YOU YOURSELF answer your own question by submitting Bobby Seay! You! Not anyone else.

In other words, you've said NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE OR VALUE in this conversation.


August 22nd, 2009 at 1:53 AM ^

His stats indicate that he will "EVENTUALLY" go south? So he's fine for now?

Then his stats say he's good enough for the time being, and the popular perception says he's good enough for the time being. Hm. Whether "good" is objective or subjective, Rodney is.

Just because it strikes worry in your heart when he steps on the mound doesn't mean he's a poor closer. I think your pulse would jump a little bit with anyone taking the field in a 1-run game with big division implications.


August 22nd, 2009 at 1:53 AM ^

They won the fucking game! He gave up 1 hit! So he's blown a few saves this year, big fucking deal, every closer in the league has. Hell, Nathan's blown 4 of them and Papelbon has blown 3. His job is to close games. He gets it done nearly 90% of the time. Not everyone is going to be Mariano Freaking Rivera or Jonathon Jonathon Papelbon.

Embrace the Tilt-A-Whirl and be thankful Todd Jones has retired and can wear his hideously awesome shirts in peace. Todd Jones was a fucking nightmare closing. As David in Wyoming pointed out, Jones was definitely worse than Fernando, his whip was 1.418 in 2007 and a whopping 1.632 last year, there are numerous other stats that prove the same thing, but I don't feel like wasting any more time on your worthless nonsense. You're fucking ridiculous.

Who the hell cares if he wears his hat crooked, are you some sort of fashion critic now? He gets the job done. He can wear his hat backwards, inside out, or he can rip off the damn bill for all I care, if he keeps closing out games. Take your fucking knee jerk reactions and shove them up your ass.


August 22nd, 2009 at 10:21 AM ^

Sommy: Rodney is not a good closer. Period.
MGoCommenter: Why?
Sommy: His ERA and WHIP are bad.
MGoCommenter: His ERA and WHIP in save situations is actually dramatically better.
Sommy: He's a bad closer. Period.
MGoCommenter: But, (cites more evidence).

That's not arguing a point, buddy, it's a 5 year old plugging their ears and holding their breath until someone gives him.

Ultimate Quizmaster

August 22nd, 2009 at 2:14 AM ^

Whether or not Rodney is the long term solution, he's who we have now. His success will play a large role in determining our playoff chances. If Ryan Perry can get consistent, then we are in very good shape with Seay, Perry, Lyon, Ni (haven't seen him in awhile). It'll be a big bonus if Dolsi and Bonderman can get on track. Miner may not be able to beat the New Yorks or Bostons, but he can eat up some good innings against quite a few teams.

david from wyoming

August 22nd, 2009 at 2:16 AM ^

Part of this is just going to be differing opinions. I used to vocally support Todd Jones, with his high numbers, because he 'got the job done'. I think Rodney is a more-or-less average closer for the team when compared to other closers around the league. Some are better, some are worse, most are at the same level as Rodney.

One of my favorite quotes from Jones was "If you don't like how I pitch, get up and make a sandwich or get a beer during the 9th inning. When you get back, I'll have gotten the save" (most likely paraphrased a bit).

Everyone gets their own opinion. There isn't much that is going to change about our closer situation and it looks like both our views aren't going to change much either Sommy. Don't let your opinion of Rodney ruin what is turning out to be a fun season.


August 22nd, 2009 at 3:04 AM ^

It's about time everyone here calmed down and faced facts. The short of the matter is that nobody expects Rodney to be the long-term solution, and it's for good reason -- he's clearly not a quality closer. Obviously he is the least of the Tigers' problems right now, particularly since he has successfully converted so many saves this year, but it's incredibly shortsighted to fly off the handle and pretend it's not an issue. Rodney is 32. Who is going to be the closer of the future? Perry? Doubtful. Zumaya? What a joke.

It is an issue, even if you'd like to pretend it's not.