There’s no two ways about it — being a huge Angels fan, I have plenty of affection for Frankie Rodriguez. He was lights out in ’02 when the team won the World Series, and he’s been a stud in the pen ever since. You can’t possibly be an Angels fan and not love Frankie. Sure, he makes saves more adventurous than they need to be, but he still gets the job done more often than not; there’s much more to like about him than not to like. Anyway, that all being said, I’m getting sick of people suggesting that Frankie is a candidate for the Cy Young Award in the AL this year (ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on Thursday night on SportsCenter for one). On what grounds? The fact that he happens to play for the team that’s won the most and that’s happened to generate the most save chances in the league? The fact that he might wind up breaking a record because of this? I agree, he’s having a special season in terms of the numbers, but I can’t agree that his season is worthy of Cy Young contention.
Frankie hasn’t pitched a fraction of the innings that studs like Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay — my top two candidates — have thrown. These guys are giving 7, 8, 9 innings an outing for their team — all quality innings, too. These guys have been unhittable for most of the season, being more effective than Frankie who only has to pitch one inning at a time. Not only have Lee and Halladay been spectacular making them more deserving than K-Rod, but Frankie isn’t even the top closer in the league. Joe Nathan (the best closer in baseball the last five years), Jonathan Papelbon, Joakim Soria, and Mariano Rivera have all been more effective this year pitching a similar amount of innings. The only difference between Frankie and those other four guys (aside from those guys being more effective) is that Frankie has more saves. That’s it. Doesn’t mean he’s been any better, just means his team has created more save situations. I’m not hating on Frankie here because he’s a reliable closer and has been one of the most reliable closers over the past few years, but he just has no business being mentioned in any Cy Young talk. As far as I’m concerned, it’s between Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and pretty much nobody else. Plain and simple. Let’s just hope the writers don’t screw this up as they’re so frequently known to do.