December 22, 2009

Angels need to look elsewhere for bullpen help

At one point during this hot stove season, Arte Moreno was quoted as saying he wanted to add a power bat, another starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. So far, the Angels have landed one of those in Hideki Matsui. Not ideal, but he does fill a need for a left handed run producer.

Today, we learned the Angels are in serious discussions with Fernando Rodney

What do we know about Rodney?

Rodney is projected as a possible set up guy; however, it should be noted that he saved 37 games in 38 opportunities for the highest save percentage in the league this past season. He did this despite a 4.40 ERA; not exactly the kind of number you’d want from a guy who’s supposed to shut down the other team when it really matters.

Was he lucky? Perhaps.

Consider this; in 2007 and 2008 he had more strike outs than innings pitched. Last year his strike outs per nine innings reached a career low 7.3 (against a lifetime ratio of 8.6). He also gave up a career high 8 homeruns. Quite a big number for a “stopper.” It should also be noted that Rodney will be 33 when the 2010 season begins. He’s also coming off a season where he pitched a career high 75.2 innings.

When you look at his numbers and factor in his age, it’s easy to conclude Rodney may be in decline. The Angels would be wise to pass on this free agent.

Given the inconsistency of last year’s bull pen, Rodney doesn’t seem like a good fit. He raises a few too many questions for me.

Now where is that starter Moreno wanted? John Lackey is gone and two players the Angels reportedly had interest in are no longer targets. Halladay has moved on to Philadelphia and Javier Vazquez is now a Yankee. And just for the record the Derek Lowe rumors make no sense what-so-ever. He’s too old, too costly and just not that good.

And that big bat? There is talk the Angels are among four teams supposedly "interested" in Jason Bay, but given the log jam already in their outfield, this too makes very little sense; unless they plan to move one or more of the current batch of outfielders. Also, Bay appears to be out of the Angels price range.

If Moreno is to achieve his hot stove goals, the Angels clearly need to get busy; more importantly, they will need to get creative. The free agnet pool lacks depth and doesn’t meet the Angels needs or budget.

As I said in a previous post, it appears the Angels have moved on to plan B, C, D or worse. Not exactly what most of us expected and not the kind of thing that builds confidence.

Stay tuned.


  1. James, My research on Rodney says he does well when it is a do or die situation. when he came into the game as a non save situation he has a tendency to be lazy and throws batting practice which brought up his ERA. As far as Jason Bay, a decent bat but not for the superstar dollars he is asking. Dollar for dollar Juan is a much better value. I believe if Juan was a BoSox his numbers would exceed Bays offense. And as we know Juan has a cannon for an arm with accuracy and can play both corners where Bay can't. I still ask the question what is the answer for GMJ? I still don't see a match for his over priced contract. I agree with you on Lowe no way at any trade. It would make me sick if they traded Riveria for Lowe as I have heard in the rumor mill. As always I enjoy your blog.

  2. Bo - I've read Tiger fans comments on various sites that remind me of Angel fans calling in after a shaky save by Fuentes or K-Rod. I've read he's not lights out in those situations even though he gets the job done. His declining numbers in his K-rate remain a concern for me since he's supposed to be a power pitcher.