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Monday, July 14, 2008

K-Rod To Test Free Agency

Francisco Rodriguez will test free agency rather than giving the team a chance to re-sign him during the team's exclusive negotiation window.
"I'm going to go out there and explore the market," Rodriguez said. "They had six years. They didn't get anything done with me.

"If I wait six years, why not wait another two and a half months?"

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Meanwhile, Jose Arredondo has the highest Win Shares Percentage of all relievers in baseball with at least 10 appearances (he's had 21). 1.13 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, no earned runs surrendered in a month. Hello new Angels closer.

If I were Reagins, I'd be floating K-Rod in trades for offense. Arredondo's ready, and if the Halos are thin on SP depth, it ain't the case with the relief corps: Bulger, Jepsen, Aldridge, Marek, and R Rodriguez are all a farm call away.

Dodgers suddenly need a closer, are one game out in a winnable division, and don't seem all that high on Kemp and LaRoche. (Speedy Kemp would look awful good in the Angels' two-spot, if Scioscia would play him.) The second-place Cardinals could also use a closer in the worst way. Glaus for K-Rod and Matt Brown? Probably too clever by half, but it'd be the ironic choice: two three-month rentals with sparing organizational loyalties swapping roster slots. Glaus is kind of an a-hole, but at least he hits in the postseason.
 
I think it's a game of chicken, myself, but I agree with you that K-Rod is the Angels' most valuable trading chit.
 
If I'm the Angels, I let Frankie walk and take the two first round draft picks next June. Frankie has been great for the Angels, but they need to let him go before he signed a long term deal and implodes.

Frankie's numbers have been going down since 2006. Sure his saves have increased, but his WHIP and walks have gone up, while his strikeouts have gone down. That's a bad combination for a closer.

His fastball is now in the 92-93 mph range, down from 96-97 when he first came up. Plus, its obvious that he's gained a significant amount of weight since he made his debut in 2002.

I refuse to believe that K-Rod is a dominate closer. Every time he comes into a game, it seems the other team mounts a rally, until K-Rod finally gets the last out.

Let some other team pay Frankie $15 million a year, while we use that money to find another hitter.
 

I refuse to believe that K-Rod is a dominate closer.


You can refuse to believe it all you want, but that doesn't make it false. If he's not a dominant closer, than there is no such thing as a dominant closer. He's saved over 90% of his chances in the closer role for his career. He's got a much better career ERA+ than Hoffman, and he's in shouting distance of Rivera. In addition to that, he's still learning, as evidenced by his increased use of the change up to lefties this year.

Again, I think the luxury of having that dominant part of the bullpen has made people forget how hard it is to find a dominant closer. There aren't very many of them. Just because a Kevin Gregg, Derick Turnbow, or Joe Borowski may find lightning in a bottle for one season doesn't mean they can do it consistently. Frankie has proven that he can. I love Arredondo, too, but don't forget that Frankie and Rivera had both been tested for multiple seasons in the setup role before taking over the closer spot.

Let some other team pay Frankie $15 million a year, while we use that money to find another hitter.

Yeah, maybe there's another GMJ, Shea Hillenbrand, or Steve Finley out on the market this year, because lord knows, the Angels have shown a terrific acumen for finding hitters on the free agent market.

I wouldn't be opposed to dealing him for a big bat if they can find one, but I don't think that will happen, as the only teams interested in a trade at this point will be contenders who probably won't want to part with a slugger.
 
The problem with a trade is that only contenders tend to bite on dominant closers — unless you're Houston and have a clueless front office, or, how's that Jose Valverde trade working out for you, Mr. Wade?

Seitz's point about the junk available on the free agency market is pretty apt, too. There just isn't that much you can buy on the open market; the problem isn't the high price of free agent players, the problem is the high price of mediocre free agent players.
 
I guess it's how you want to define dominate closer. I consider it to be a closer that puts down the side 1-2-3 game over. A pitcher that shuts down the opposing offense.

How many times has K-Rod done that this season? By my count, it's only 14 times, out of 38 saves. In 24 games he's allowed one or more batters reach base, often allowing the tying or winning run to come up to bat.

I completely agree with you about the Angels and finding hitters. It would be great to not have the GMJ contract on the books. I'm not a person who argues that we should try and sign free agents, in fact I argue that more money should be spent on the farm. Use the savings from K-Rod to sign the two draft picks we get from him leaving. Spend more money internationally.

I guess my main point is that I'd hate to see Frankie sign a huge contract, which then becomes an albatross, which hampers the Angels from making decision in the future.
 
How many times has K-Rod done that this season? By my count, it's only 14 times, out of 38 saves. In 24 games he's allowed one or more batters reach base, often allowing the tying or winning run to come up to bat.

This is meaningless without context. The question isn't how often Frankie does this, it's how often Frankie does it compared to other closers. Personally, as this is always a stressful part of the game, I have a tendency to view Frankie's outings as worse than they really are. We don't expect perfection over the course of a season, but we expect perfection in each individual outing, and the failures stay in our memories more than the successes. Evaluating your home team's closer is difficult because of that. But I think when you step back and look at the bigger picture, you'll see how good Frankie has generally been, especially relative to the rest of the people who play his position.
 

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