Rodney won't get comfy at closer

If Fernando Rodney has won the closer competition for the Tigers, somebody forgot to tell him.

“That’s news,” he said Thursday morning.

Considering his locker at Joker Marchant Stadium sat just outside manager Jim Leyland’s office before they packed up and left for Atlanta Thursday, it’s unlikely he just wasn’t paying attention.

Though Leyland said Wednesday that Rodney would pitch the ninth inning if the Tigers have a lead in the ninth inning on Opening Day, he appears to be simply getting the first shot. At this point, nobody has been declared the closer.

As far as Rodney knows, the closer competition might still be going on, and he can’t let up.

“We have a lot of competition here for that position,” he said. “I don’t know who’s going to be the closer. We have a lot of guys who can close the game. I think that competition is very close.”

Rodney has had no fewer than four different stints as the Tigers’ closer over his six-year Major League career. He saved three of the Tigers’ 43 victories in 2003, and has worked behind such Tigers closers as Franklyn German, Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth and Todd Jones.

When the team announced the Brandon Lyon signing at TigerFest in January, adding someone who saved a career-high 26 games last year, Rodney said he looked forward to competing for the closer job. Never mind that the competition appeared to be a formality at that point.

He didn’t accept defeat when the contest seemed stacked against him. Now he isn’t basking in victory, either.

“I keep competing and keep working hard,” Rodney said, “because you don’t ever know what’ll happen.”

23 Comments

Not sure what Fernando has done to even be considered for the closers role. My vote would be for Perry at this point, but if not Lyon.

Not sure what Fernando has done to even be considered for the closers role. My vote would be for Perry at this point, but if not Lyon.

Hey Jason, on Sunday can you set us up with a blog entry so we can make our season predictions? That would be a good use of that off day for us. I’d like to hear yours too.
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–Rich

Have been away for a couple of days.
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Didn’t support Porcello coming in at this stage though I am sure he will have a great year. Just hope he is still able to deliver for the Tigers in 7-10 years time. Relying on management to cotton wool his pitch and innings count with the season results at stake will require huge calls that I doubt will get made.
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I am sure (hope) Nate will come around and just realise his prima donna reaction purely reflects his deep down realisation he has not delivered for some time. The Tigers bullpen has enough problems worrying about closing games without having any unnecessary distractions. Mr Illich sure doesn’t deserve to have to make another huge salary decision, one worth $17m.
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Management has done a huge job since last season and has at nil overall cost fixed glaring defensive weaknesses of the team, enabled the DH role to be rotated, increased speed and left bat offense to support the great offense capabilities of the top 5. The changed mindset of team selections based on performance and not the size of players contracts will have a huge impact on team chemistry and a positive flow on effect within the farm system. You can still make it as a Tiger rather than being a 30+ ‘name’ player.
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The one glaring problem for this team is the Closer role. It is 90% mental, just like golfers on the back nine on Sunday, you either have the mental edge and belief to handle the tense game on the line situations or you never will. If anything, you lose it further with age – look at the Champions Tour with all the dodgy putting strokes!!
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Rodney has shown he can’t deliver making only 33 of 58 (56.9%) career saves, with last years career best stats of 13 of 19 (68% – still very poor) occurring when the Tigers season was effectively over. His yearly stats have always been bad – 0 of 4 saves; 3 of 6; 9 of 15; 7 of 11 (63.6%); 1 of 3 and then 13 of 19.
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I do not understand the similar fixation management has with Zoom as since 2006 he has gone 1 of 6 saves (even with a 1.94ERA in 06); 1 of 5 and 1 of 5 in 2008.
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Lyon’s career has been up and down and one not deserving of a closer role in a team with more than enough $$$ spent to win numerous pennants. A career 51 from 71 (71.8%), he went 14 of 15 (93.3%) in 2005 which was followed by 0 of 7 in 06 and 2 of 5 in 2007. His good figures of 26 of 31 (83.9%) last year still aren’t up to Todd Jones stats of 93 of 108 (86.1% as a Tiger) and further down again on the 88-93% range for closers all the good teams have.
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Rincon will not be able to make the step up making just 3 of 18 (16.7%) career saves. Casey Fien isn’t liked by management and is unlikely to be called up regardless of how he goes, following in the footsteps of Blaine Neal. That leaves Ryan Perry, something I am surprisingly more comfortable about than starting Porcello. I wonder what our blown save record will look like by the time they throw him the ball following after all of the above.

Real happy for Joyce to be in CF today for Tampa. Despite his health problems earlier in Spring, looks like the trade with Jackson will be good for everone concerned.

I think they should give Nate a shot at closing at some point. He’s got the competitiveness, he needs a higher status role for his ego, and after the past two seasons, he doesn’t look like a starter.

Couldn’t be much worse than Rodney.

Hey Tigers Fans,
Just a note for you to not set your hopes to high for opening week. The Jays will win at least 3 out of 4 in the opening series. All the best in 09, just an early appology for the rough road trip to start the season.

It’s nice to see some loyalty from the Toronto fans, but I’m not too worried about the Jays (beyond Halladay). It’ll be interesting to see how Travis Snider plays this year – I’ve seen him several times with the NH Fisher Cats (AA), which is the closest team to our home.
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I got into my car last night and was about to change my XM radio to listen to the Tigers/Braves game, when I noticed some particularly insightful commentary on XM Home Plate about our Tigers. Could it be Jason Beck? It is! Nice to hear you on the radio, Jason.
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I’m all atwitter, tomorrow night they start to count…
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matt

I just read that Craig Monroe made the Pirates 25 man roster. I’m glad he’s getting anouther chance to play.

-Tracey

Ya it sure is lucky we have Halladay. We are all optimistic that Snider can be a big contibuter now and for years to come. Besides them we have some under rated bats in Hill, Rios, Lind, and even Wells who is a force when healthy. Not to mention a lights out bull pen.
Just wondering what does your front five starters look like?

Well, we’re *hopeful* about our starters this year. We tell ourselves that 1) Verlander is a stud and last year was an anomaly, 2) Galarraga is going to have another good year, 3) Edwin Jackson is young, has great stuff and is going to build on his success with the Rays last year, 4) Porcello is going to turn some heads in his rookie year and 5) Miner is going to keep things together until Bonderman finishes rehabbing from the surgery he had last year. We’re a little more concerned about our bullpen than our starters, actually. How confident are you Jays fans in B.J. Ryan? I’ve heard that he’s lost quite a bit off his fastball?
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matt

Ryans velocity has been a concern but his last few apearances it is back to normal. Fortunatly if Ryan falters we have Scott Downs, Jesse Carlson, and Brandon League as alternatives. Should be a fun opening week lets hope for some good games!

G-Man is dealing once again today. He looks super confident on the mound. Prone to the long ball. Remember Frank Lary? Some guys will give up the taters hots but not get overly hurt by them. G-Man seems to be one of those.
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Big bonus is if Laird and Inge can keep hitting when the season starts.

Porcello threw 25 pitches today and 20 were strikes. Whew!
Funny what you can do when you throw strikes.
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G-Man has thrown 74 pitches so far and 50 of those have been strikes.
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Those are both very nice ratios. Like to them make this Armando’s last inning though.

Well Nate didn’t show much out there in his inning and a third. Got hit pretty hard.
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Can’t see him becoming a Kerry Wood out there in the bullpen. I hope he shows a little humility and that old bulldog tenacity he was known for.

so i’m assuming porcello wasn’t pulled after 2 innings today due to injury?
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I didn’t watch or listen to the game, just followed it online so i was wondering..

Okay, this doesn’t look good for Nate Robertson. He got knocked around again but worse, he hardly even tried to cover first on that grounder to Kelly. Overall, I gained the impression of someone who is pouting. There are guys in the minors, Rapada and Fien to name two, who deserve to be on this team. Nate is like family, but he might require some of that tough love.
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While Renteria/Jurrjens gets the attention as the worst trade, how about Jacques Jones for Omar Infante? Omar can play nearly everywhere and does a good job. He just got pigeonholed in Detroit by Leyland.
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A thought on the Sheffield release. Could be a mistake. If it had been me, I would have kept him and had him rotate the outfield and DH with everyone else. I pay no attention to all that talk of him being a cancer and all that, since there’s no basis in fact for any of it. I think we would have been a stronger team with him on it. I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with me.
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Porcello and Galarraga looked real good. In fact, our pitching overall has had a good spring. Hope that continues.
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–Rich

I don’t think that was the case. I think they wanted to limit his pitches as he is likely to be starting in Toronto on Thursday.

I have no problem disagreeing with you Rich!
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No point in discussing the “cancer” issue. That’s a very harsh indictment but I certainly felt he was not an overall good influence on the club. Mabybe individuals respected him and learned something but overall, I think it’s a good thing he is gone.
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I agree totally with you about Nate. That looked to me like a “childish” outing. I think he making a mistake (as much a mistake you can make with a guranteed contract), by not taking this demotion gracefully. He can be released just like Sheff was and the precedent has been set. Everyone knows this was a horrible contract gifted out by DD. He was rewarded generously for being a sub .500 pitcher and it almost seems as though he wouldn’t mind just taking the money and running.
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It is abundantly clear that no team in baseball will trade for him–not with that albatross of dollar signs around his neck.
We will be in a similar situation with Ordonez very soon too. He will produce adequately but no one will be willing to take on the 36 year old next year with a fat salary. I think the time was ripe for him last year and we may have missed the boat on getting something very valuable for him.
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Still hoping Grandy learns how to drag bunt to keep those 1st basemen honest. He hits a lot of screamers down the line that get handled because the 1st sacker knows he can play back.
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I hope the games are televised nationally here. I know that MLBTV won’t broadcast any home Blue Jay games. Across the entire country! Guess they fear it might impact attendance if the Vancouver crowd could watch it! MLB in its infinite wisdom I guess.

It’s blacked out over ALL of Canada??? That’s incredible!
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You probably know all this, but according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_Sportsnet “Sportsnet Pacific carries selected Seattle Mariners games produced by FSN Northwest as part of a rights deal with the Mariners. Other Sportsnet feeds carry selected regional baseball games produced by other American networks (such as Fox Sports Net, Comcast Sports Net, the YES Network, and NESN), although the MLB Extra Innings package is available for purchase in Canada.”
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The Extra Innings package is running a free preview this week, April 6-12. Don’t know if that helps you or not.
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I also noticed that Nate was cranking his arm around after some pitches today. Now do we have an injury starting up? Or was that acting out? Like “can’t get loose coming out of the pen like this.” Well, we’ve got a distraction now, even without Sheffield. This will have to be dealt with. A person’s body language speaks volumes. He has a choice of pitching his way back into the rotation, pitching in important relief roles, or being relegated to a mop up role in lopsided games. Come on, Nate.
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Josh Anderson is like one of those Minnesota Twins. Amazing knack for getting on base without hitting the ball out of the infield. And Maggs would have never flagged down that drive to the RF fence in the 9th.
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–Rich

Hey Rich. Look forward to hearing from you at my email address. Sorry it took so long to answer you. I guess they’re using my “nickname” instead of email address now. It just started happening. Not sure why. Some folks here are still identified by their email addresses.
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Looking forward to a more interesting and successful season than we had last year. I think they picked a good 25. Sorry about Shef being released but I think it was for the best. I have a lot of respect for him after watching him for 2 years. I think he did what he could for the team but injuries plagued him. Wish him well and hope he can still hit 500. He’s a HOFer no doubt.
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Marcus will now get his chance and I’m happy for him. I was disappointed that he didn’t get his deserved chance after the 2006 season. He and Omar just couldn’t seem to win the respect and confidence of JL. So now I hope he makes good. If he can hit 35-40 HRs with a batting average around .250 he’s done his job.
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I’m disappointed in Nate’s comments. I think his character is much better than that. I hope it was just a moment of frustration for him. It could be a matter of conscience with him in that he knows he has an inflated salary and wants to prove his worth. So he’s frustrated in not being a starter out of the gate. What he needs to do is be patient, work hard out of the pen and earn a starting spot.
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I hope they’re able to keep Brent Clevlen. And as far as the guys sent down, it takes 40+ players to get through a season. We see that year after year. When a player’s number is called he better make the best of the chance. Some players don’t get too many.
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We got some more speed now. We got some better defense. Pitching will have to hold em.
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marty

Can’t beleive, Espn baseball tonight , completely ignored todays game efforts that Detroit beat Atlanta, and just zeroed in on Atlanta’s shortcomings to be a winner this year..
So there it is.. Detroit Tigers are where they want to be. Flying under the Radar to pull off some wins, without all the media centered on them, like last year, expecting a lead from beginning to end, with 1000 rbi’s ..
It is shaping up as long as we have enough luck with pitching, and a few runs to support the pitchers efforts.

Just wondering where is Marcus going to bat in the lineup and will he be the DH or playing leftfield?

I really think the Tigers have as good as chance as anyone to win the division, especially with the Twins already having big injury issues. I’ve seen Cleveland picked as the favorite by alot of writers but I wouldn’t expect Cliff Lee to repeat 2008 by any means. It’s pretty obvious but we have to win alot more games within the division if we want to have a shot. And avoid injuries too.

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