Fernando RodneyNo pitcher has appeared in more World Baseball Classic games this spring than Fernando Rodney, who has pitched in all six games for the Dominican Republic. His workload raises questions about whether Rodney is being overused, and if his national team manager even cares.

The most blatant example of Rodney being overused came on Saturday, when Rodney was asked to close what was essentially a meaningless game. The Dominican Republic was already guaranteed a spot in the semifinals, and the game was only being played to determine seeding, which is nearly meaningless in a 4-team scenario that is just one-and-done.

Complicating matters is the manager of the Dominican squad, Tony Pena. Pena also happens to be the bench coach for the New York Yankees.

Certainly Pena doesn’t want to injure Rodney. But it is hard to believe, that with the all-star nature of these rosters, that Pena couldn’t find another pitcher to close on Saturday. And one team that would benefit from an overused Rodney is the Yankees.

Last year in spring training, Rodney appeared in eight games and threw a total of 7.1 innings before going on to have one of the best seasons by a reliever in MLB history. This spring, between the Rays and the WBC, Rodney has already thrown 8.1 innings with potentially two games left to play in the WBC and two more weeks of spring training.

On top of that, he is throwing at max effort earlier in the spring than would be considered normal. And he is consistently being used on shorter rest than he would receive if he were working with the Rays.

Maddon will limit Rodney’s use after he returns to the club. And while Rodney has looked good in the WBC, there is a real concern about having to shut a pitcher down and then ramp him back up when the season starts.

The result is, when the regular season starts, there will probably nights that Rodney is unavailable during games that count. And that will be because he was overused in games that didn’t count.

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11 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    The Rays need to step in and cut this crap out. No one cares about this meaningless tournament

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  2. CRRaysHead90 says:

    At first I was like "whatever" now as his workload increases under the care of the Yankees bench coach, I'm getting worried.

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  3. Dave L says:

    Has anyone in the Rays org been asked by the beat writers about this? I would say its something less than abuse so far.

    Lets see if he uses Rodney on what could possibly be consecutive nights tonite and tomorrow. At least now we have another reason to hate on the Yanks when Rodney inevitably has an ERA higher than 0.65.

    Seems like every MLB manager sent the instructions with each player on how he was to be used to the respective Nat'l teams. Torre followed each one to the T and managed like it was spring training. The other managers laughed and sh*t-canned the instructions on day 1. Jose Molina has a box score somehow with 3 AB's and I watched alot of WBC but never remember seeing him even play.

    For Pena its like killing 2 birds. Nothing the Rays can do at this point. I can see T Pena when asked about it after winning it all responding, shrugging his shoulders and laughing, saying 'what could I do?' He wanted to go in and I couldn't say no.

    I bet 90% of Dominicans in the DR are Yankees fans as well so he can't lose in his world.

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  4. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    The forthcoming result of situations like this: contracts including caveats that pitchers are not allowed to play baseball outside of the league. And the forthcoming result of those caveats: the WBC goes the way of the dodo bird.

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    • Dave L says:

      Actually the opposite is true.

      With the Olympics gone, the WBC is the only world international competition of baseball/

      Who calls the shots and basically sets up the rules for WBC? MLB of course.

      MLB wants to grow the MLB brand wordwide and baseball in general. Baseball sort of competes with other world sports for global expansion. Soccer and basketball have grown worldwide. Football has failed in its expansion. Hockey is limited by climate. Cricket has stalled in the old British empire.

      Baseball is growing worldwide and we should applaud it.

      Imagine a Rays representative at a future MLB meeting:

      Rays: Uh we think Rodney was overused in the 2013 WBC

      MLB: So your point is?

      Rays: Well it hurts our team

      MLB: How many Rays players participated in the WBC?

      Rays: Well 4 ....but Peralta got hurt, so three but wait we had the AA Brazilian kid so 4 thats alot.........

      Selig: Well my Brewers sent 13 the most of any club, but wait its not MY Brewers, Im the commish sorry, its that girl who happens to be my daughters' Brewers who sent 13. She's not complaining young man. So whats your beef?

      Rays: Well ummm...

      Selig: You are the team that plays in that White bubble with the catwalks in the trailer park that the rest of the teams have to subsidize right? So whats your problem again?

      Rays: uhhhh nevermind

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      • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

        I fully understand that MLB wants to push baseball to international levels, but teams themselves, not MLB, are the ones who can stop players from attending by stipulating in player contracts that they cannot participate in baseball related activities that aren't sanctioned by the team.
        This stops the expansion of the tournament at an atomic level (individual teams) not a molecular level (The League).

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        • Dave L says:

          There is zero precedent for what you suppose and the team with the possibly weakest standing within the sport with the most powerful union in the history of sports (possibly all of labor) has no chance of implementing it.

          The "Rodney Abused By WBC" storyline will have the half life of a subatomic particle and never even be picked up by the local media much less make any national radar.

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          • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

            I understand your stance, but I'm not saying this should be a new precedence set on behalf of the woebegone Rays- I'm saying if this continues to be an issue year-in and year-out then the owners will eventually bring it to the union, and...the union may not play hardball as much as you insinuate either because they need to protect their assets as well-- major leaguers being damaged outside of their primary occupation becomes a liability to the well-being of the league itself (side project be damned).

            But you're probably right- it's probably more of a non-factor than I like to believe.

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          • Bill says:

            You might want to be more specific regarding subatomic particles. For example, a proton is a subatomic particle that is either stable, therefore it's half life is infinite, or, per some recent findings, has a half life of 10 to the 32nd years.

            Seriously though, this storyline will certainly come up again later in the season if Rodney develops any issue whatsoever that results in him not being available, but especially if he goes on the DL. DR used him again last night. If he gets used tonight ......uggh

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  5. Don says:

    Last time I saw him Rodney was a grown man, playing for his country, enjoying himself, pitching one inning a night is nothing, The Rays can't do anything about it, the Media & Fans don'y count, Rodney will make His career decisions and Pena has little to do with it, would you feel better if he coached for KC? get a Life and a real story...Go DR..

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  6. reeni645 says:

    I don't think Joe Maddon will overuse Rodney in the final days of Spring Training. He needs him and will treat him wih=th same kid gloves that he used for Longo.

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