Apr 19, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Stop the Madness - Take Fernando Rodney Out of the Closer's Role

Albert Einstein once described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Merriam-Webster dictionary, in one of their several definitions of insanity, defines the word as ‘extreme folly or unreasonableness.’ As of this point, Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays may be considered to exhibit signs of insanity by their continual insistence to put Fernando Rodney on the mound for saves.

Quite simply, he has given the Rays virtually no reason to expect a different result than what he has done most of the season – put people on base. He has walked 18 batters in 19.1 innings this year, and has blown consecutive saves, as he is now only 9-14 in save situations. After his most recent meltdown against the Yankees last night, Rodney has an ERA of 6.05. That number is unacceptable for the long reliever, never mind someone who is counted on to slam the door on close games.

Yes, Rodney saved the Rays last season when Kyle Farnsworth was injured and Joel Peralta imploded to start the year. However, Rodney is in the midst of the same type of implosion that Peralta had at the time. His ERA and WHiP are the worst of any reliever with five or more saves, and he has walked more batters and blown more saves than any other reliever in baseball this season. The closer who is closest to Rodney is Brandon League, and no one is exactly claiming that he should remain in his role.

Absolutely nothing about his track record screams out that Rodney is just in the midst of a bad run. In fact, when one looks at his track record, one year truly stands out – last year. A full decade of similar results should not be considered irrelevant just because of one improbable year. We can talk about mechanical and mental issues all we want, but Rodney should not be working through these as the Rays closer.

At this time, expecting Fernando Rodney to come through in a save situation is essentially the definition of insanity. Maybe he gets himself on track at some point and can be a solid closer for the Rays, but that time is not now. The Rays need to remove him from the closer role and let him get everything figured out – to continue to do so while expecting him to nail down the save is simply folly.

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Tags: Fernando Rodney Tampa Bay Rays

  • Baltar

    That last blown save against the Yankees convinced me. Not only did he blow it, but I felt like he was going to blow it as soon as he came in.
    I’m now on your side in this. Maddon should just use Rodney in very low leverage situations until he gets that changeup down.

    • Dave Hill

      I think even he expects to blow these chances now. he just does not seem confident out there. The Rays like to put players in situations where they can find success and build their confidence – they need to start doing this with Rodney as well. Should he start getting people out in middle relief, then they can look at putting him back as the closer.

      • david egbert

        There is only one problem with your logic. Who do you replace him with? Move Peralta and you risk screwing up your 8th inning set up situation and, perhaps, Peralta. Jamey Wright sure isn’t the answer and the rest of the bull pen is as messed up as Rodney.

        • Dave Hill

          McGee has been really good over the past eight games, with eight scoreless innings and nine strikeouts. He seems as though he’s through his issues earlier in the year. I’d give him the eighth inning at this point if Peralta was to move to closer.

          • david egbert

            You might want to check out the article on closers that is currently up on the SI web site.

          • Dave Hill

            I’ll check that out. Thanks.

  • david egbert

    Might work short term. McGee scares me because the only pitch he has confidence is is the fastball. In the end, if they don’t get Rodney straightened out, it’s going to be a frustrating season!