Rosenthal: Rays Approached Brad Penny About Closing | The Process Report

Rosenthal: Rays Approached Brad Penny About Closing

From the trustworthy Ken Rosenthal:

A number of teams, including the always-creative Rays, approached right-hander Brad Penny about becoming a closer during the offseason.

Penny preferred to remain a starter and signed a one-year, $3 million free-agent contract with the Tigers.

I like the idea. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone, since I would have loved to do something similar with Rich Harden, Ben Sheets, Jeremy Bonderman, or any number of injury-prone starters who turn their wheels on a constant basis only to remain stuck in a proverbial mud of frailty. There’s just more money in starting pitching and coming to grips with the failure of one’s body when said body has made one millions is probably more difficult than it should be.

As for Penny, he still throws hard, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his recent strikeout rates. From 2008 onwards, Penny just hasn’t been the same pitcher, as his strikeout rate has dipped to 5.4 per nine innings pitched and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is around 1.9. His first start this season against the Yankees didn’t look so good either, but it’s only one start. Penny will again qualify for free agency at year’s end, and who knows, maybe he will have an opportunity to reconsider closing for the Rays.

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