Paco Rodriguez Should Set Up Kenley Jansen


Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Well it’s September 22nd, and the Dodgers are scrambling in the bullpen. You and I can debate on the whether the bullpen is actually good and has been overworked lately (where I tend to land), or whether it’s just a hot mess that will destroy the Dodgers in the playoffs. Regardless, there are quality arms, Kenley Jansen is a top 3 closer in the National League, J.P. Howell, while not as good as his ERA says, is a good left handed arm out of the pen, if Pedro Baez could figure out how to strike out batters at a higher clip, he looks to be a solid late inning arm out of the pen, and then there’s the guy everybody seems to forget about.

Paco Rodriguez.

Using second round picks on relievers who aren’t closers, don’t have a chance to start, don’t throw particularly hard and are left handed generally end up being terrible picks, however Rodriguez has at least made the conversation interesting. Drafted in 2012 out of Florida, the arm action that made Mark Mulder rethink his baseball career, Rodriguez has been a perfectly good reliever in the major leagues. His stats say it all, in 74.1 career innings, he’s put up a 2.42 ERA/2.88 FIP/2.92 xFIP, holding left handed batters to a .142/.222/.187 line, but he’s not a LOOGY considering he’s held right handed batters to a .205/.304/.339 line, which pretty much translates to 2014 Derek Jeter, so he’s good.

I don’t really want to detail how his 2014 season went, because it was terrible. Losing his job to Chris Perez, Paul Maholm, Jamey Wright, Brian Wilson because of “DEPTH PURPOSES” really was sad. Hurting his teres major set him back, and it was a legitimate question as to whether or not Paco would contribute down the stretch. He was rotting away in the minors, like Molly Knight pointed out

Thankfully for the team, they got back their second best reliever, and in the 4 games back, he’s Mattingly’s trust back not allowing a run -granted, super small sample size- but Rodriguez needed to show that  he was effective at this point in the season.

With the bullpen having such holes, being overworked because Roberto Hernandez, Carlos Frias, Kevin Correia, and at times, Dan Haren are all terrible, the Dodgers can not afford to lose out on the innings Paco can provide down the stretch. When those innings come from is up in the air, but it’s pretty clear given the options that they have, Paco should be pitching right behind Kenley.