Seattle Mariners Top-10 Story Lines For 2015
Sep 18, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) celebrates after the Mariners defeated the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
7- Will Fernando Rodney end the season as the Mariners closer?
The short and simple answer, you would think would be yes. But the Fernando Rodney Express is not a ride I want to get on when the playoffs arrive.
Carson Smith showed signs of brilliance at the end of 2014 and has potential closer stuff. He will more than likely earn a spot on the roster out of Spring Training and be a setup man to Rodney.
But he also appears to be the heir apparent to the closer job for 2016, or sooner if Rodney struggles.
Rodney’s stats in 2015 were all over the map. Yes he led the Majors in saves with 48, setting a new Mariners team record.
But he also had a 2.85 ERA – among the 17 players with at least 30 saves in 2014, that ranked 9th. His batting average against and WHIP (.244 and 1.34 respectively) also ranked low in the pack (T-14th and 15th respectively).
It allowed for several butt-clenching moments in the 2014 season. And while he may have saved 48 games, he also blew three saves and lost six games (1-6 record). Among closers with at least 10 saves and 40 innings of work in 2014 – of which there were 38 – only Addison Reed had more losses (7) than Rodney.
If the Mariners feel confident in Carson Smith by the trade deadline, they may field calls on Rodney who is only under contract through the 2015 season.
Then again, I’m not sure what’s worse: Having Rodney possibly implode in the 9th of a critical playoff game, or having an unproven rookie do the same.