This season is full of intriguing two-player “Showdowns”, or debates, over which one will finish 2015 with better numbers. So we thought it would be cool to pit two players against each other, scrutinize their age, injuries (if applicable), and statistics, especially their 2014 seasons, with only one coming out on top.
Our 10th and final ticket on our first Showdown Supercard features two veteran relievers who continue to hold onto one of the toughest positions in baseball – the closer role. Now entering the ring, it’s Rodriguez vs Rodney.
Let’s see why these two veterans compel us to compare:
- Okay, we’ll get the cheesy stuff out of the way first: they’re both “F-Rods”, although K-Rod is the more familiar nickname for Rodriguez
- They both started their careers in 2002
- They have both closed for the Angels
- They both pitched for their first squad for 7 yrs, and have been a member of 3 others since then. In fact, Rodney was acquired by the Angels after they lost Rodriguez to free agency in 2010.
- Despite their rankings (outside the Top 15 on most sites and the Top 20 in many cases), they were each 1 of the 6 closers with over 40 saves in 2014
Francisco Rodriguez - K-Rod turned 33 yrs. old just after New Years. It’s a nickname that hasn’t quite stood the test of time. Perhaps that’s because Rodriguez will always be best known for his debut year when the Angels won the World Series.
While Angel fans had to wait over 40 years for their first championship, Rodriguez waited less than 40 days from his debut on September 18, 2002.
He was lights out that post-season when he allowed just 10 hits over 18.2 IP, while striking out 28. He was the unknown phenom who had only pitched 5.2 innings in the Majors before the post-season, but became such an essential set-up man for Troy Percival.
Because Rodriguez gained fame at such a young age, it seems he’s been around forever. Although his numbers from 2014 tell us that he still has lots left in the tank and really hasn’t lost much at all:
Fernando Rodney – turned 38 yrs. old during Spring Training. He led the Majors with his 48 saves last year, which may lead you to believe Safeco had something to do with it. However, his away numbers are slightly better than his home stats. In particular, his BAA: .228 Away and .260 at Home.
His 1.34 WHIP in 2014 is on par with his 1.36 career WHIP, yet his 2.85 ERA last year is way down from his 3.61 career mark.
He has not been as consistently good as Rodriguez over his career – not even close. He’s only ever had 4 years with 15 saves or more. Of course, he didn’t always hold the closer position.
Early exposure as a 20 yr. old phenom in the 2002 World Series leads us to believe Rodriguez is older than he is. He was actually the youngest player in the Majors back then. The 33 yr. old’s numbers back this up, as he’s showing few signs of slowing down.
On the contrary, Rodney seems like he’s only been around for a few years, because of a lack of exposure. Yet he is almost a full 5 years older than Rodriguez.
Another red flag, is his skewed ERA from last season. This suggests there was some luck involved, and that we should expect some regression.
Caveball, like so many other sites, has made a slight error in this case. On further investigation we now believe Rodriguez should be ranked a notch higher than Rodney, instead of the other way around. At least we do have both veteran closers inside the top 20 where they belong.
The Winner: Francisco Rodriguez