Here We Go Again - "Angels Out on Soriano"

July 13, 2010; Anaheim, CA, USA; American League pitcher Rafael Soriano of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch during the eighth inning of the 2010 All Star game at Angel Stadium. Photo via Newscom
***Photo courtsey of Yardbarker

As soon as I heard the news fromTruth and Rumors on theSports Illustrated site, I could already hear what was running through the heads of the Angel faithful…

“Fire Reagins!”
“Another failed free agency!”
“What the crap is he thinking?!”
“Yet another high profile free agent slips through our fingers!”

What was the headline? Angels Out on Soriano —-

I’m thinking about taking a trip to Angels headquarters to observe the violent riot that is going to erupt when Angels fans get a hold of quote from the story from the Orange County Register

What’s the quote that will inspire the picket line outside of the Angel Stadium of Anaheim tomorrow?

“Reagins said he is satisfied with where the team stands in its starting rotation and bullpen and will now be ‘looking at other opportunities.’”

So, if Soriano is not going to be sought after, what will Scioscia and the Angels do about a closer? Another quote from the article clarifies their plans… “Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he expects one or two of the power arms in the bullpen (Jordan Walden, Kevin Jepsen or Fernando Rodney) to emerge as the team’s closer and will be bolstered by the two left-handed additions.”

Let’s look a bit closer at the players mentioned-

Jordan Walden (16 appearances, 2.35 ERA, 15.1 innings pitched, one save in one opportunity, 13 hits, four runs, four earned runs, seven walks, 23 strike outs) – could be a candidate, but he needs more experience before he can be counted on being a consistent closer.

Kevin Jepsen (131 appearances, 4.43 ERA, 122 innings pitched, one save in six opportunities, 125 hits, 64 runs, 60 earned runs, 52 walks, 116 strikeouts) – not exactly “closer” types of numbers. Last season’s 3.97 ERA was the lowest in his young career, so he definitely improved over his 2008 ERA (4.32) and his 2009 ERA (4.94), but he averaged close to one hit given per game. With men on the base, that could be dangerous.

Fernando Rodney (380 appearances, 4.27 ERA, 84 saves in 117 opportunities, 370 hits, 205 runs, 189 earned runs, 205 walks, 367 strikeouts) – Most of his career was with the Tigers, and his numbers haven’t been staggering. Though he’s coming off his third best ERA over his eight seasons (4.24 with the Angels, 4.40 with the Tigers), a 4.24 ERA is not a very comforting ERA for a closer to have.

Let’s compare these numbers with those of Soriano.

Rafael Soriano (342 appearances, 395 innings pitched, 277 hits, 127 runs, 120 earned runs, 118 walks, 422 strikeouts) – Soriano’s numbers are mind numbingly great. He has a career opposing team average of .193. This is what a closer is made of!

In my opinion, the team NEEDS Soriano. There’s no suitable replacement.

If Reagins wants to be back in the good graces of the Angels fans, he needs Soriano as well.

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