The guy who many thought one day would be the best closer ever, has now lost his job as closer for the Detroit Tigers.The difference between being a good player and a great player is how dominate you are in terms of stats. The difference between a great player and a legendary player is their longevity. K-Rod was the most lights out closer for probably 5 years and a top 5 closer for another 5 years. K-Rod had a great heater and his slider was something from a different planet. The most memorable thing about K-Rod was his thunderous follow through on every pitch. Now, he's not even good enough to be a closer in the MLB, just goes to show you how hard it is to put together a hall of fame career.
From 2011-2013 K-Rod was a lost soul, he had just finished his big contract with the Mets, he was battling injuries, and was at a crossroads in his career. He went to the Milwaukee Brewers, found himself, and put together two all star seasons. The Tigers acquired him last offseason via trade, K-Rod wasn't great, but he was a solid closer for the Tigers last year. This year has been a whole different story, K-Rod has blown 4 of 11 save opportunities, so Brad Ausmus gave the closer role to Justin Wilson for now. K-Rod could always get it back I'm sure, but that's not a good sign for the former dominant 35 year old reliever.
What a career it has been for K-Rod, 437 saves in 11 years as a closer. The other 6 years he's been in the league he was a setup man, not giving him the opportunity to rack up move saves in the stat column, even though a few of those years it was his fault for just not performing at a high level. Right now, K-Rod is 4th all time on the saves list, he'd need about 2 more seasons to reach 3rd all time. Hoffman and Rivera are way too far ahead for him to ever catch, so the best he can finish at this point is third. I wouldn't even put K-Rod in the same sentence as those guys, though. Rivera's career ERA was .6 lower than K-Rods and he pitched for 3 more seasons than him. Mariano was dominate until the day he retired, even at the age of 43 he had a 2.11ERA. Hoffman pitched to a dominant level until he was 41, sucked in the playoffs, but K-Rod didn't have much of a playoff resume either. Not quite hall of fame caliber and didn't quite live up to the hype in my opinion. He had some great years, didn't quite have the longevity to make it to Cooperstown, though.