Fernando Rodney rumors: RHP drawing 'significant interest' from Orioles, 3 others

USA TODAY Sports

Several clubs are conducting some last minute holiday shopping at Rodney's.

The Baltimore Orioles and a trio of other clubs have "significant interest" in free-agent closer Fernando Rodney, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

The O's have made Rodney their primary target since the Grant Balfour deal fell through over the weekend, but this is the first indication that they have any competition for his services. According to Connolly's source, the botched Balfour contract has "unquestionably increased" the interest in Rodney, who is reportedly seeking a multi-year contract at $10 million per year.

Baltimore might have some trouble negotiating with Rodney in the wake of developing cold feet with Balfour, so he's not the only reliever on the club's radar. The O's have reportedly reached out to Francisco Rodriguez to see if he'd consider returning to the organization. K-Rod was picked up by Baltimore at the trade deadline but was used sparingly down the stretch, throwing just 22 innings of mostly low-leverage relief.

There's no info on who the other clubs interested in Rodney are, but some educated guesses can be made. The Mariners placed Rodney on their radar at the beginning of the month and haven't added anyone else to the bullpen, so presumably they're still in the hunt.

The Yankees are another potential landing spot for Rodney. New York has had bullpen arms on its mind all winter, but wanted to get its other shopping out of the way first. The club finally added its first new relief arm last week in Matt Thornton, so perhaps the time has come for them to find a new closer.

Rodney, 36, has transformed himself into one of baseball's best late-inning relievers the last two seasons. Ol' Crooked Hat turned in the best season by a relief pitcher in the history of the game in 2012, posting a 0.60 ERA in 74⅔ innings that was good for a ridiculous 641 ERA+. He couldn't duplicate that level of success this past season, of course, but he still turned in a solid 3.38 ERA in 66⅔ innings. He's converted 85 saves in 95 chances the last two years.

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