- The benefits to the use of K-Rod for player and team:
As freely as they spend money, the Angels aren't capricious; they look at every aspect of their investment----statistically, historically, on and off the field----before coming to a conclusion and they don't pay closers huge amounts of money to remain with the team when they approach free agency. They wisely allowed Troy Percival to leave after grooming a young K-Rod in 2002,3 and 4 and now they have two in-house candidates to replace K-Rod next year with sublime set-up man Scot Shields and young Jose Arredondo. I would think that Shields will close for at least 2009 and 10 and Arredondo would set-up and prepare to close in 2011.
The reason the Angels have been so consistently good in recent history is that there's a plan in place and they rarely deviate from that plan. The difference between the Angels and many other teams is that the Angels treat their players right on the way out the door. It's a mutually advantageous relationship. Some teams would use the fact that K-Rod is becoming a free agent as a reason to abuse him with overuse, but the Angels have kept his workload similar to what it's been his whole career. K-Rod usually appears in around 70 games and pitches 75 innings; this year, despite his record-setting pace for saves, will be no different. But the Angels aren't just using K-Rod to do his job this year, they're actually doing him a favor by letting him accrue all those saves.
It would be one thing for K-Rod, a very good although sometimes adventurous closer, to put up his usual numbers of 45 saves or so in addition to the appearances, innings-pitched and other stats, but the Angels have K-Rod on pace to set the record for saves in the walk year of his contract. For every team that diminishes the value of a closer to something that can be created, there will always be a few teams that are hypnotized by the shady "save" stat and will pay for the guy with the gaudiest numbers. The Angels aren't going to give K-Rod $13-15 million annually especially with his stressful, over-the-top motion and heavy workload over the years, but someone will, and the 60 or so saves he garners in 2008 will assist in that as both he and the Angels try to win now, and plan to move on after the season.
This is just one example of an organization that knows what it's doing; how they work within a budget; within parameters of finding players that fit into what they're trying to create and cut the cord when the time is right. Even though they don't get the respect or attention they deserve because they've faltered in the playoffs in recent years, the Angels are a template for other teams to copy if they want to build a successful franchise, run correctly in all aspects.
- Rangers 9-Yankees 5:
- Reds 6-Brewers 3:
Yost is going to get the blame for not having control of his players and clubhouse, but I'm