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Closer Roulette - Rodney 8th reliever to lead Tampa in saves over past eight seasons.

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Very good read and quite interesting as well.

Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay's closer this year, has checked off every box in his first three months as a Ray. He's converted 21 of 22 save chances, with an accompanying 1.07 ERA, .176 batting average against and 0.77 WHIP. Those numbers put him on track for his first career All-Star appearance in July.
He's also living proof that few teams can beat Tampa Bay for adapting to challenging circumstances and adjusting on the fly.

Rodney is on his way to becoming the eighth reliever to lead the Rays in saves over the past eight seasons. Tampa Bay will become the first big league team to achieve the feat since the Chicago Cubs, who produced a different save leader each season from 1998 through 2005 before Ryan Dempster enjoyed a successful three-year run in the role.

"You could take a slightly above average pitcher and drop him into the closer's role, let him accumulate some gaudy number of saves, and then sell him off," Lewis wrote. "You could, in essence, buy a stock, pump it up with false publicity, and sell it off for much more than you'd paid for it."
"It's not by design that we have somebody different lead us in saves each year," Friedman said. "It's dictated by resources. We have 'X' amount to allocate to field the most competitive roster we can. We can't afford to pay a guy $10 million or $12 million a year to throw 70 innings, so our approach is to have as many good, high-upside arms as we can and figure that one will fall out."
Whatever the Rays are doing with their bullpen arrangement, it seems to be working. Closers might be overrated, but so is continuity. And a revolving-door policy can work as long as the right guys keep walking through.


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Before we get too carried away with this, a few points:

1. For the first 3 years of those 8, Tampa's bullpen stunk -- 5.02, 4.98 and 6.16 ERAs.

2. In each year in the sequence, the bullpen has pitched fewer innings than the year before. Fewer innings = less pressure on the bullpen.

3. Tampa's bullpen has been solid the last 5 years, but its performance has varied a bit. In 2009 when they missed the playoffs, their ERA was 3.98, which is pretty pedestrian (7th in the AL). Last year, it was up from 3.33 in 2010 (1st) to 3.73 in 2011 (6th), despite throwing 63 fewer innings.

4. If anyone saw Rodney having a 1.07 ERA this year, let me know. His ERA has been over 4.00 each of the previous five seasons. It's great that it is working out for Tampa, but they've gotten a bit lucky there, are their overall bullpen ERA is 8th in the league.

I am not disagreeing with the article, just tamping it down a little. ("Tamping" - see what I did there?) The Orioles seem to be trying to do much the same thing, and it is working well for us, too, though we do have a few parts that are expensive.

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