Monday, February 11, 2008
Angels, K-Rod Headed For Arbitration
The Angels and closer Francisco Rodriguez have made no progress in negotiations for a 2008 contract, and it seems almost certain the two sides will have to settle their dispute during a Feb. 21 arbitration hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla.Much as I like Frankie, he's been wildly inconsistent, has had problems with the longball, and has had a pretty consistent second half fade of about one earned run every year since he's been designated team closer. And then there's that problem with last year's ALDS Game 2. He has a tendency to serve up meatballs at, uh, bad points in the game.
"Sometimes you file for a trial, and that's what we did," said Paul Kinzer, Rodriguez's agent. "There's a philosophical difference between us and the Angels on where [Rodriguez's salary] should be, so we're going to let an arbitrator decide."
Rodriguez, who made $7 million in 2007, has asked for $12.5 million and the Angels have offered $10 million, a $2.5-million gap that was the second-largest of any arbitration filings, behind slugger Ryan Howard's $3-million gap with the Phillies.
Now granted, he started young (which helps the innings, saves, and Ks advantages AND there are really only 30 years of short relievers to compare to him (the only pre-1974 player on there is Frank Linzy from 63-66). And included in the list are Gregg Olson, Sutter, Rod Beck, Lee Smith, Bobby Thigpen, and Urbina, all of which had reasonably successful careers or better (I don't know much about Tom Niedenfuer, Rawly Eastwick, or Linzy). The other guy on there is Chad Cordero, who is probably the one guy (maybe with Huston Street, as well) that can be called a contemporary, and he is certainly better than Cordero and Street.
What this all means is that Franky is a once in a lifetime type talent and on pace for a Hall-type career, barring significant injury and/or catastrophic loss of ability to pitch. He even has a decent shot at breaking the K's by a reliever record (I think around 1200). I would rather the team overpay for a guy like Frankie than a guy like Matthews, Jr.
Seems like the closer role is high-profile enough not to ding Kelvim's pride, and we might net a solid starter or blue chip offensive piece if we trade Frankie sooner rather than later.
I guess I just don't see the logic in opening up the checkbooks for guys like Matthews and Hunter, and not doing it for Frankie.
Seitz -- yeah, expectations are pretty hard to overcome for K-Rod, as evidenced by that sparkly nickname. I'm in favor of opening the checkbook, too, but with the caveat that relief pitching is inherently variable.
Which is why cutting loose guys like Mark Petkovsek is usually a good idea, and signing guys like Estaban Yan isn't. But generally where there is a five year history of success, I'm more inclined to believe it's talent and not a fluke. I agree that, out of the pen, great pitchers can have off years, and crappy pitchers can have good years, You usually don't see a guy with K-Rod's track record fall off a cliff, especially at his age, barring some sort of catastrophic injury.