Posts Tagged ‘Armando Benitez’

Angels Miss In The Bullpen Again, Sign Fernando Rodney

December 23, 2009

In my opinion there are five divisions for closers.

There is the Dennis Eckersley division which is your very top-tier closers like Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan.

There is the Tom Henke division which are just under the top-tier closers, but are very solid like Francisco Cordero.

There is the Jeff Montgomery division which are your no frills and no thrills closers, but usually get the job done like Huston Street.

There is the Armando Benitez division for closers who will put you through the ringer and are much suited to be eighth inning guys like Carlos Marmol.

Lastly, there is the Al Reyes division which are for closers who are thrust into the closer job because the team they are playing for has no other options. They become the closer by default like Fernando Rodney.

Lets stick with Rodney here for a second shall we?

I have never been a fan of Rodney. I don’t know the guy personally, but it really comes down to the fact that I have never thought he was good pitcher.

Rodney doesn't make the Angels better

Last year, Rodney moved into the Al Reyes division of closers because the Detroit Tigers really had no other options going into the season. Their best option other than Rodney was Brandon Lyon and as we all know, he can’t close.

Rodney was able to rack up 37 saves, but posted his usually mediocre ERA in the mid-four’s (4.40 to be exact). Over the last three years, Rodney’s ERA is 4.48, which is nothing special.

However, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim thought Rodney was special today. The Angels signed Rodney today to a two-year, $11 million contract.

You know in football when they say if you have two quarterbacks going into training camp, you really have none? Well, the Angels have two closers now going into spring training, but really have none.

The Angels now have Rodney and Brian Fuentes at the back-end of their bullpen and neither of them should be closing games on a World Series contending team. Rodney doesn’t solve the Angels’ bullpen problems–he adds to it.

Just because a guy racks up a lot of saves, doesn’t make him a good pitcher. If the Angels wanted to bring in a mediocre right-handed reliever, they would have been better off signing D.J Carrasco or Seth McClung.

Either of those pitchers would have cost the Angels less money.

And is one more thing I learned about Rodney today. He is 32-years-old! I had no idea he was that old. His age makes this signing even worse for the Angels.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Riverfront Stadium: A Hidden Gem In Newark, NJ…

August 13, 2009

For the most part the New York and New Jersey is a pro sports area. The Giants, Yankees, Rangers, Devils, and Knicks all reign supreme. Sure St. John’s Basketball is popular when they are good and now Rutgers’ Football is gaining in popularity, but sports fans in New York and New Jersey love their pro sports.

So when I had the opportunity last night to go to Newark, NJ to see the Newark Bears, I was very excited. It’s not very often I get to see a minor-league baseball game. As a matter of fact, this was my first one.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Newark Bears, they are an independent team that plays in the Atlantic Coast League of Professional Baseball. Independent teams don’t have an affiliation with a major-league club.

One of the benefits of going to a Newark Bears game is that their roster has plenty of former major-league talent on it. D’Angelo Jimenez, Carl Everett, Rob Mackowiak, Tike Redman, Ramiro Mendoza, Scott Williamson, Willie Banks, and Armando Benitez are all on the Newark Bears and all have solid big league experience.

Last night the Newark Bears played the Lancaster Barnstormers. Here is my take on Newark Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

Pros

For those of you who have never been to Riverfront Stadium, you are missing out. For an independent team stadium, this place is a gem.

Riverfront Stadium in Newark, NJ

Riverfront Stadium in Newark, NJ

Riverfront Stadium is located in Newark, NJ and is a 6,200 seat state-of-the-art stadium. The stadium is very small, so you are right on top of the action. You can hear the catcher’s glove pop nomatter where you are sitting in the stadium, which is awesome.

As you would expect, the Stadium has a very old school baseball type feel to it. Lot’s of advertisements in the outfield, some odd dimensions, and brick wall in the outfield, which I loved.

Thanks to my buddy Matt who’s client just happened to be the Bears’ team physician, we sat in one of the suites at the stadium. For those of you who entertain clients – renting a suite for the night is the way to go.

The suites have every thing you would want. Comfortable couches, a bar, a flatscreen TV with HD, great service, and a great view of the game. It’s really worth it if you want to entertain some clients or get a group of friends together to watch the game.

Not only is this stadium good for the business world, but it is great for families. The game itself is very kid friendly with contests that involve the kids. After every half inning some type of promotion is going on. Their mascot – Ruppert is a kid and fan favorite as well.

Cons

It’s hard to pick out a con with this stadium because you know what you are getting when you walk through the door. I know I am going to get a lot of cheesy and annoying kid stuff. It comes with the territory.

However, there is one thing that drove me crazy throughout the game – the scoreboard.

To have a scoreboard that doesn’t tell you the batting lineup, who is pitching, or what that player has done during the game or throughout the year is frustrating to me. As a baseball, I like to know these things.

It also would help considering that I didn’t know 90 percent of the players who were playing in the game. Give me some background or at least let me know who is pitching in the game. That is all I ask.

Overall Game Experience

Overall, I was pretty impressed with Riverfront Stadium. I would give it an eight out of ten.

On a side note to this game, the highlight of the night for me was seeing Armando Benitez come into the game in the ninth inning to try to nail down the victory for the Bears.

For old time’s sake, I was hoping Benitez would have a meltdown on the mound. Maybe he would see the ghost of Pat Burrell or JT Snow, but alas, this was not the case.

Benitez looked impressive to be honest, as he got the side in order one-two-three to save the 5-4 win for the bears.

Marmol Fails First Test…

March 14, 2009

Carlos Marmol got his first big test as a closer in the Dominican Republic vs. Netherlands elimination game in the World Baseball Classic and if I was a Cubs fan watching this game, I would be very nervous headed into the season.

In my “Looking At Fantasy Closers In 2009”, I had Carlos Marmol as question mark. Meaning either he is going to be the next Francisco Rodriguez or the next Armando Benitez. I know it is only 1 game but after Tuesday nights blown save in a 2-1 loss against the Netherlands, I am going to say he is the later. Here are some Benitez-like qualities that Marmol displayed on Tuesday night:

1.It looked like he drank 12 Red Bulls before he took the mound. Man was this guy wired. Classic Benitez moment. He lets the moment dictate him, instead of him dictating and controlling the moment.

2.He was trying to throw the ball 200 mph. When a pitcher overthrows and is hyped up his fastball becomes straight. That is what Marmol threw Sidney de Jong…a straight fastball. Hence, a double off of the wall.

3.After he gave up the game-tying single to Gene Kingsale, Marmol started screaming to himself. This is never a good sign for a closer. There is a difference between being intense and being out of your mind. Jonathon Paplebon is intense. Mario Rivera is intense. What I saw from Marmol, he was out of his mind on Tuesday.

4.Marmol was all over the place. In 26 pitches, he only threw 14 strikes. When a closer’s ball/strike ratio is 1 to 1 that usually means there is a blown save on the horizon. Benitez in many of his famous blown saves was all over the place.

Marmol had a Benitez-like meltdown on Tuesday

Marmol had a Benitez-like meltdown on Tuesday

As you can see Marmol has some classic Benitez moments on Tuesday night. Now some of you might be saying Benitez wasn’t all that bad. And you are right. From 1999 – 2004, Benitez had a 2.46 era, averaged 35 saves a year, made 2 All-Star games and won the 2001 NL Rolaids Relief award. I think any team would take those numbers from their closer over a 6 year period. But ask any Orioles, Mets and Giants fan about Benitez and they will roll their eyes and cringe like you wouldn’t believe. Why? Because every time Benitez was put in a pressure situation he came up short.

For fantasy purposes, Marmol is not so bad. Who would complain about the Benitez’s numbers above? To get 30+ saves and a 2.45 era from your fantasy closer is something every fantasy owner is looking for. But I am getting the feeling that Cubs fans will have the same experience with Marmol that other teams have had with Benitez.  He will get his saves but when the Cubs need Marmol the most, he will let them down.