With news that Jim Leyland has founded a new way to confound fantasy players, Fernando Rodney has become the Tigers’ opening day closer. Seriously, that’s his title. You cant read much into this, except that Rodney will likely get the first shot at saves, which makes him worth owning, if only on a speculative basis.
I’ve probably owned Rodney 10 times over the past three seasons. He can be brilliant – in 2006, he posted a 3.52 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, while striking out 65 batters in 71 innings – and disastrous – in 2008, he posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.58 WHIP, while only managing to pitch 40.3 innings, his lowest total since 2003. In between, in 2007 Rodney was serviceable with a 4.26 ERA and 1.32 WHIP
As I wrote yesterday, I’d grab Ziegler before Rodney, but you can’t slouch on Rodney just because he kind of sucks, for two reasons: Joe Borowski (three seasons of 30+ saves) and Todd Jones (six seasons of 30+ saves). Oh, and by the way, who was Todd Jones’ manager? Mr. Innovative himself, Jim Leyland.
So, as a waiver wire pick-up, you should be jettisoning your Mariner’s closers, Chris Perez, and J.J. Putz types. As Todd Jones proved in 2007, a closer with a mid-4.00 ERA can get 38 saves for Leyland.