Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays prefer to avoid official 'closer' tag

Manager Joe Maddon plays this funny, semantic game in not calling Fernando Rodney the Rays closer, just like he didn't call Kyle Farnsworth the closer last year, or J.P. Howell in 2009. (He did acknowledge Rafael Soriano was their man in 2010.)

But with the loss of Mariano Rivera hovering over the Yankees the entire season, you can see why he isn't joking when he says not doing so "is one of the most effective things we've been able to do around here."

Maddon's view, shaped by the front office's philosophy, is that unless you have one of the elite lockdown closers, you're better off having several relievers who can handle the ninth inning, even though it's much harder to manage that way.

"There's some guys out there, and there's some other guys," Maddon said. "If it's a guy you can really sink your teeth into, then absolutely I do believe (in doing) that because it does set up everything else. But if it's not one of those bona fide, absolute closers, then I think I like what we do."

The Rays have options. Though Rodney has gotten most of the work, they also will entrust the ninth to Joel Peralta and Howell, with the appealing potential of getting Farnsworth back from injury, and hope Wade Davis and Jake McGee grow into it.

If Maddon hands the job exclusively to one and, as is often the case, it doesn't work, he has to deal with the machinations and emotions of moving him out of, then maybe back into, the job. This way, he feels they all know they could have a hand in it, and he feels better about it.

.fast facts

Eight is enough

Fernando Rodney is on his way to being the eighth different pitcher to lead the Rays in saves in eight seasons:

'05: Danys Baez, 41

'06: Tyler Walker, 10

'07: Al Reyes, 26

'08: Troy Percival, 28

'09: J.P. Howell, 17

'10: Rafael Soriano, 45

11: Kyle Farnsworth, 25

12: Rodney, 9

Tampa Bay Rays prefer to avoid official 'closer' tag 05/12/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 12, 2012 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.