Fernando Rodney is currently in midseason form pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Pitching for the 7th time in the DR’s 7 games, Rodney helped the undefeated to the WBC Final with a perfect 9th inning with 2 strikeouts to nail down his 6th save and continue his ridiculous effort all tournament. Rodney now has 6.1 innings under his belt allowing just 1 hit, striking out 6 while walking 3. And he celebrated the occasion of yet another great outing by celebrating his 36th birthday. Rodney could not have gotten any better results for the Dominicans in the WBC (if someone has any ideas for how to get your ERA below 0.00, I’m all ears), but unfortunately, Rays fans can’t be entirely happy about what has transpired.
Rodney has appeared in every single one of the DR’s games and considering it’s still spring training and he would have been pitching only once every three days in Rays camp at this time, that’s pretty concerning. Rodney also threw 9.1 innings pitched between the Dominican Winter League Postseason and the Caribbean Series, and add that to his 6.1 innings pitched and he already has 15.2 IP under his belt before the season starts. That doesn’t seem like very much, but it represents a touch over 20% of his 2012 total and that added workload can’t possibly be good for him next season. Rodney has pitched in Winter Ball before, but he has never tossed 90 innings in a season his entire career, and that’s right around the total the Rays hope he can reach between Winter Ball, the WBC, and the major leagues this season. The Rays are going to have to be more careful with Rodney this season, and that is going to make pitchers like Joel Peralta and Jake McGee even more critical should Rodney wear down at any point or be unable to go, for example, more than two days in a row. Fernando Rodney had a magical 2012 and he has carried that over to Winter Ball and the WBC as he has done a fabulous job representing his country, but in the process he may have cost himself further success in the major leagues. The Rays have to hope that doesn’t happen.