The Seattle Mariners officially cut ties with their former closer Fernando Rodney after last night’s game. It capped off a disappointing season in Seattle for Rodney, who began the 2015 season as the Mariners’ closer. But with each appearance, he kept sinking deeper into the imaginary quicksand of inconsistency and now is in DFA limbo.
The move did not surprise Rodney, as he told Greg Johns of MLB.
“It’s baseball for me and I understand. Somebody has to step up and see what’s going on. We tried everything we could. I’ll continue and keep my head up. … I know when you don’t do the job you’re supposed to do, something’s coming.”
While the Mariners have seen enough of the 38-year-old Rodney, there will likely be more than one team that might be interested in giving him a shot. Despite 2015 being struggle, Rodney is just one year removed from an all-star 2014 campaign– leading the American League with 48 saves.
First, let’s take a look at Rodney’s struggles this season. Through 54 games, Rodney pitched to a 5-5 record with a 5.68 ERA in 50-and-two-thirds innings. Right away, it’s clear that keeping the opposition off the scoreboard was a daunting task for Rodney. One reason for that would be his home runs allowed.
Never posting a HR/9 rate higher than 1.0 in his career, Rodney’s HR/9 sits at an ugly 1.4 in 2015. An entire point above his 2014 average of 0.4. Therefore, keeping the ball in the park will be a big part of the equation if Rodney expects to turn it around with another team this season.
Also, Rodney has recorded 16 saves this season but has blown six, making 16-for-22 in those circumstances. From 2012-t0-2014, Rodney recorded 133 saves, twice posting 48 in a season. Therefore, it’s not too far fetched to believe that a change of scenery could help him.
There are things that look promising for Rodney, however. For starters, he’s still averaging 94.8 MPH on his fastball, matching his number from last year, as noted by MLBTradeRumors. Also, one thing that is not tangible but could work in his favor is his experience. Rodney has pitched in parts of 13 seasons, experiencing success everywhere he’s went. Therefore, pitching for a team that has a more legitimate shot at the playoffs may re-energize him.
Mike Axisa of RiverAveBlues joked about Rodney’s next destination likely being a California team.
Future Dodger Fernando Rodney.
— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) August 23, 2015
The Dodgers, a team with a $300 million payroll but few reliable relievers may take a hard look at Rodney. The relievers for the Dodgers have pitched to a 5.35 ERA since June 1, as mentioned by the Los Angeles Times. The same article breaks down the Chase Utley trade, a swap that improved the offense but did little to help the faltering bullpen. Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi told the LA Times that the Utley move does not preclude the team from upgrading their bullpen.
“This move is obviously not mutually exclusive from adding to the ‘pen, or anywhere else on the roster.”
He further discussed that despite the recent struggles, a team’s bullpen is it’s most inconsistent part. He also faintly gave a vote of confidence to their current crop of relievers.
“Look, it’s obviously been a rough stretch. Bullpens in general are the part of the team where performance tends to be the most volatile. The thing for us, every guy in our bullpen has had a track record, or even stretches this year, where they’ve been really good. Some of it I think is just a few of our guys hitting speed bumps at the same time.”
Another team that could use bullpen help is the New York Mets. Outside of set up man Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia, the Mets’ bullpen offers little stability with the likes of Hansel Robles, Eric O’Flaherty and others. But Mike Puma of the New York Post says Rodney is not a top priority for the Amazins.
Mets are still kicking around various bullpen ideas, but Fernando Rodney is not high on their list. — Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 23, 2015
That does not mean that the Mets could not change their minds and give the veteran, who is owed $1.5 million for the rest of the season, a shot.
Also, teams such as his former club the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and the surging Texas Rangers could present themselves as fits for Rodney.
[Image by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]