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Just Say No to Fernando Rodney
Posted By Bill Baer On December 22, 2009 @ 11:22 pm In MLB,Philadelphia Phillies,Sabermetrics | 8 Comments
Remember when you were a kid, you would do stupid stuff and your parents would stop you in your tracks? They’d tell you what you were doing is wrong, and that they’re stopping you for your own good. Maybe, like me, you stuck marbles up your nose. Or maybe you’d touch exposed wires in a plugged-in lamp that you knocked over with a football. Guilty. Spent your allowance on ice cream shaped like the face of Super Mario? Been there.
Even as adults, we have people in our lives that stop us from making fools of ourselves. You may remember such slogans as “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” and “dude, she’s like 350 pounds.” Point is, none of us is perfect and it’s nice to have back-up in our moments of poor decision-making whether it’s your parents, friends, or complete strangers.
Why do I bring all that up?
We have a situation on our hands, and we need to run interference.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is eyeing the fat girl across the bar. Her name is Fernando Rodney, a right-handed relief pitcher formerly of the Detroit Tigers. Rube just got his Christmas bonus ($6 million from Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade) and he’s on the verge of blowing it all on her in a presumably drunken stupor. For the past month and a half, he’s been demonstrably pointing at the $140 million violently circled many times over at the bottom of the Phillies’ ledger. Now, Rube is considering spending $12 million over two years on Rodney, according to Buster Olney.
Rube has been a sly cat since he took over for Pat Gillick. We wanted Pat Burrell back; he gave us Raul Ibanez. We wanted to sell the farm for Roy Halladay at the trading deadline last year; he gave us Cliff Lee at the cost of next-to-nothing. Then he did give us Halladay, essentially in exchange for Lee. Clearly, he sees something that we the fans clearly do not — and he should, he’s the GM.
However, Rube may have had a little too much Hot Stove nog to drink. Maybe he’s still high off of the Halladay trade. Whatever the case, he needs to be stopped. Cut him off, take his keys, call him a cab. Imagine him waking up the next morning to the face on the right. Imagine the shame!
Instead, Rube can sleep it off, wake up tomorrow and do the right thing: insert Scott Mathieson and Antonio Bastardo into the bullpen. They’ll cost about $400,000 apiece, or together about one-sixth the cost of Rodney.
Rodney isn’t a particularly bad relief pitcher, but he’s not a good one either; he’s average. FanGraphs has his career FIP at 4.15. He has the ability to strike hitters out (8.6 per 9), but he also walks far too many (4.6 per 9) to be given high-leverage innings. Looking at only his 2005-09 seasons, he set a career low in K/9 last year and his second-highest BB/9. He had flukish batted ball splits (11% line drives, 58% ground balls) that are destined to regress.
Perhaps most telling is that the American League finally caught up to Rodney’s wild ways. For the first time in his career, opposing hitters swung at fewer than 60% of his pitches in the strike zone yet made contact 84.2% of the time when they did swing. It could certainly be true that the National League could take some time to catch on to this, but it’s unlikely given the ubiquity of scouting reports, statistical analysis, and tape review (and word of mouth).
Rodney should be a pitcher teams shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole at his current asking price of $12 million over two years.
Fans don’t let their team’s GM sign Fernando Rodney.
Behold, my incredible Photoshop skills:
You know what to do, Internet.
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