Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon hasn't actually been using the word "closer" to describe Fernando Rodney, despite the fact that Rodney picked up a pair of one-out saves over the weekend. When reporters ask Maddon about Fernando, they usually get responses like this...
"He's a really good late-inning relief pitcher."
"He's pitched in the ninth. It just happened to be his moment, just based on the match-ups."
And if you really pester Maddon about his bullpen, he'll say stuff like this...
"They all have the potential to get the last out of the game, and you might see a lot of different guys get the last out."
So whatever else Fernando Rodney is, he's not officially the Rays' interim closer. There remains a legit possibility that we'll see Peralta or Howell or some other Ray on the hill for the final out in the ninth, sometime soon. And as most of you already know, Rodney has been a mess over multiple seasons. Just check his ratios over the past five years for details.
Kyle Farnsworth is expected to be sidelined for perhaps six weeks due to his elbow strain, but he'll presumably step back into the closer's role eventually, ending this nightmare.
Let's move on to news that involves less-terrible names...
• OK, just one more scary name, but then I promise it's over: On Sunday, Jonathan Broxton earned his first save as a member of the Royals, and you can't find fault with his fantasy line. He faced three hitters and retired them all via swinging Ks. He's still not quite reaching triple-digits, but the stadium radar clocked him at 97. That's an awfully good sign. Video here. Last year, before he hit the DL, his average fastball velocity was 94.1 — a good number for most, but well below what we'd come to expect from Broxton.
• Uh-oh. This might be nothin', or it could be somethin': Giancarlo Stanton was scratched by the Fish on Monday due to knee soreness. You'll recall that he battled this issue all spring, and he clearly isn't yet operating at full capacity. He could become a high-maintenance player in the coming weeks. Officially, Stanton is day-to-day.
• Wilin Rosario has only started one game behind the plate for the Rockies so far, but he managed to make some noise in that weekend appearance. I've watched this clip a few times, and still can't figure out exactly where the ball lands. All I know is that it traveled a loooong way, possibly longer than Tulo's mammoth shot in the same park. There's a decent power ceiling with Rosario, if/when he gets regular playing time for Colorado. He's hit 40 homers at Double-A over the past two seasons in 723 at-bats.
• Jeff Samardzija had a terrific regular season debut on Sunday, striking out eight Nats and walking none over 8.2 innings. He allowed just one earned run and four hits on the day. Samardzija had a (mostly) promising spring, and of course he throws a million miles an hour, so there's K-potential here. His team context limits the win projection, obviously, but he can still assist the fantasy community. He's only owned in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he's available to most of you.
• The early returns on Justin Morneau are plenty encouraging, as he's had at least one hit in each of his first three games. He's 4-for-10 thus far with a pair of doubles, DHing for the Twins. By the end of the exhibition season, Morneau was locked-in and binging. He's still a free agent in a decent number of mixed leagues, too. Make the add if it's available to you. That looks like $7 well spent, Chris Liss.
- Fernando Rodney
- Joe Maddon
- Tampa Bay Rays