Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Letter: Is Frankie Rodriguez Worth It?

TO: Sports@LATimes.com

Dear Editor:

I understand that Frankie Rodriguez wants a multi-year contract that will make him the highest-paid relief pitcher in the major leagues. While it's true that he set the season record for saves, that has far more to do with opportunity than with talent. Inasmuch as he wants to be paid more than Mariano Rivera, it's hard to see how his agent will make the case when Rivera had the far better season. With just a few days left, Rodriguez has 61 saves, but he's blown seven; Rivera is 34 for 35. In 66.1 innings, Rodriguez has given up 53 hits and 34 walks; while Rivera, in 68.1 innings, has given up just 41 hits and 6 walks. Rodriguez has struck out one more batter than Mariano, but his ERA is 2.31, Rivera's is just 1.45. It's true that Rodriguez will only be 27 years old next season, while Rivera will be 38. But as Eric Gagne and so many others have proven, the one sure thing to be said about young relief pitchers is that they have more time in which to blow out their arms.


Burt Prelutsky