If you listen closely, you can probably still hear the boos echoing within the walls at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Fernando Rodney was not a fan favorite while he was with the Angels–and especially not so in 2011. The right-hander endured his worst season as a veteran last season, pitching to the tune of a 4.50 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, and career-worst 0.93 K/BB fueled by an eye-popping 7.9 BB/9. Rodney was worthy of the boos, however; to the fans’ credit, he was flat-out bad.
Yet despite the dismal performance, the Tampa Bay Rays threw Rodney a life-line, and signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal. With Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta in-tow as their closer and setup-man, respectively, it seemed as though Rodney would not get a sniff of save opportunities in St. Petersburg. But baseball has its way of surprising everyone. Farnsworth succumbed to an immediate injury–sidelining him for at least a month–and subsequently thrust Rodney and his suddenly valuable closing experience into the role. And to the surprise of everyone–perhaps Rodney included–the guy has done one hell of a job. Continue reading