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February 6, 2014

Rumor Roundup

Examining the Market

by Daniel Rathman


Three teams have “strong interest” in Fernando Rodney
All but one of the pitchers who spent the 2013 season as their teams’ closers know where they will be playing this year. The exception is Fernando Rodney, who appears certain to move on from the Rays—now that they’ve added Grant Balfour and Heath Bell—but does not yet know where free agency will take him.

The hard-throwing right-hander, who turns 37 on March 18, has secured only one multi-year deal to this point in his career: a two-year, $11 million contract that came back to bite the Angels before he moved on to Tampa Bay. Rodney earned $2 million in 2012 on a one-year pact with the Rays, who exercised a club option to retain him for $2.5 million last year.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Rodney’s agent, Bill Rego, has whittled down the market to three teams: the Mariners, Mets, and Orioles.

The Mets would seem to be an odd fit, since they have ninth-inning incumbent Bobby Parnell under control for two more years, but Parnell underwent neck surgery to repair a herniated disk on December 10. The 29-year-old expects to be ready for Opening Day and was fully cleared to resume baseball activities in late December, but general manager Sandy Alderson could use a veteran like Rodney for short-term insurance and then flip him at the trade deadline if the contract is cheap enough.

The Orioles, having traded Jim Johnson to the Athletics and nixed a two-year, $15 million agreement with Balfour over concerns about his physical, might be the most logical fit. Dan Duquette has money to burn, and reports have indicated that pitching is his primary target. Adding Maryland resident A.J. Burnett or another starter might be the top priority for the O’s, but if Duquette has $17 million available, that could still leave enough room in the budget for Rodney. As of today, manager Buck Showalter’s closer choices are Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day, and newcomer Ryan Webb.

Finally, the Mariners have infused a good deal of position-player talent into their roster by signing Robinson Cano and Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison, but their only pitching pickup to this point is Scott Baker. Rodney would probably bump right-hander Danny Farquhar, whose 4.20 ERA in his first big-league year belied an excellent 1.89 FIP, back to setup work. If all goes well, first-year manager Lloyd McClendon would then boast a three-headed monster at the back of his bullpen, with those two joining fellow righty Yoervis Medina, who showed off a lethal curveball in his rookie campaign.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: C... (02/06)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: The Truth... (02/06)

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