When Tony Reagins delivered us the Rod, he also gave us the shaft.
Fernando Rodney is not a good pitcher. Fun guy -- lots of character -- but his control is awful, he provides little or no value above above a replacement player, and his saves last year were a mirage. It doesn't take long looking at his stats or the game logs to see what a terminal project this guy is, yet he has countless defenders in these forums.
But Turk had a good run amid the fun, one that Rodney has not. Reagins overpaid, pure and simple. He paid more than four times the value delivered by the pitcher over the past two seasons. He paid three times as much as the Nats did for Matt Capps, a reliever with a poor year last season but a far better cumulative record of success. He paid three times as much as Texas did for a reliever in Darren Oliver who delivered as much value in the past two years as Rodney has done in his full career.
Those fans that say Reagins was only paying market prices need to contend with those two points first. Then read these two analyses next:
Some highlights after the jump...
Given the Angels’ track record of uncovering bullpen gems, one might find it strange that the team has laid down a big chunk of change on free agent relievers in recent off-seasons. Justin Speier pulled down $18 million while contributing -0.2 WAR. Brian Fuentes compiled 0.4 WAR in 2009 while making $8.5M. He’ll earn $9M in 2010, and has a $9M vesting option for 2011. Fun fact: Donnelly came out of nowhere, again, to post a 0.6 WAR season with the Marlins in 2009. The cost? A minor league deal.
Add Fernando Rodney to the list of high-profile relief signings. The long-time Tiger, 33 in March, inked for two years and $11M recently. It’s a level of compensation that Rodney has not justified during his major league tenure.
Either way, Rodney’s an Angel now and there will be a certain set of fans that love this move. Most of them will love it because of Rodney’s save percentage. They’re wrong — saves are an awful way of measuring a pitcher’s value, probably even worse than using wins.
I find it bizarre when people that spend many hour a week following a sports team don't give themselves the tools to analyze the team in detail. But that's their prerogative. If folks think it's meaningful to give up seven runs in 6.2 innings against the Chicago White Sox last season and earn three saves from those performances, so be it. It's more alarming when the professionals in charge of the team deny themselves better tools and come to bad conclusions while believing in such hokum.
IMO, this should concern fans that have a blood and soul stake in their team, but a lot of folks are pretty sanguine on this deal, and the defense usually takes the form of a defense of our rookie GM. I've never understood loyalty to men in golf shirts just for the sake of it, and to me, Tony Reagins thusfar seems like just another man in a golf shirt who has made a couple market-value deals on aging veterans (Abreu, Matsui) while overpaying on everyone else and letting cheap good relievers like Darren O'Day fall off the vine due to lack of due diligence and oversight.
To me, loyalty to bad managers doesn't mean you're a good fan, nor does being uninformed and exaggerating the value of crap players; it just means you're ultimately ambivalent about your team's success. It's reactive loyalty to brand over product. Good fans fight for good results. That's my baseline. Scioscia's a pretty solid manager, though he's also had a flush wallet behind him most of this decade. Nevertheless, Reagins -- a man who was strong in a player development context -- seems to be clueless about economics and player value. The Rodney deal is just one more piece of evidence that he's not minding the store.