Thursday, December 24, 2009

Angels & Nationals Get Some Relief

Both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Washington Nationals have obtained relief. Not from the federal government but in the form of pitchers.

Yesterday, the Angels signed Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract worth $11 million. Rodney was the closer for the Detroit Tigers in 2009 and saved 37 games. It is interesting that the Angels went out and signed Rodney despite the fact that Brian Fuentes led the AL in saves with 48. Clearly, the Angels are not all that confident in Fuentes especially after he struggled during the post-season.

I suspect that Fuentes will begin 2010 as the Angels closer with Rodney being his set up man. Rodney has been a set up man most of his MLB career. But if Fuentes struggles early then Angels skipper Mike Scioscia will have Rodney close out games. Fuentes has been a set up man in the past.

Before the Colorado Rockies went on their great run in 2007, Fuentes had struggled as their closer. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle named Manny Corpas as the closer while Fuentes became the 8th inning man. It was not long after that decision came to pass that the Rockies turned their fortunes around. Now whether Fuentes would respond in the same manner in an Angels uniform remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Matt Capps has signed with the Washington Nationals. The terms of the deal are presently unknown. Capps saved a career high 27 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. However, the burly right hander also went 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA and the Pirates made Capps walk the plank. At 25, Capps does have youth on his side.

But the Nationals have a Plan B. They have also signed veteran left hander Eddie Guardado. "Everyday Eddie" pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2009. Guardado was a closer with the Twins and Mariners earlier this decade. While the 39-year-old did not save a game in '09, Guardado is an option to close should Capps not fill the bill.

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