Fernando Rodney expects Rays will extend him

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Closer Fernando Rodney believes the Rays will give him a two year extension following his incredible 2012 season, but there is still no deal in place.

The Rays closer Fernando Rodney is confident that the team will work out a two year extension to keep him in Tampa Bay after the 2013 season, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Reports that a deal was close came out earlier this week after a "misunderstanding" with a reporter from a paper in the Dominican Republic, but Rodney’s agent, Dan Lozano, did say that he and the Rays have had "numerous talks."

Rodney was a revelation for the Rays this past season, throwing 74.2 innings with an incredible 0.60 ERA while saving 48 games in 50 tries. Prior to 2012, Rodney was signed by the Rays to a one year deal worth $1.75M with a $2.5M option for 2013. At that time, he was coming off of a rough season with the Los Angeles Angels. In 2011 he threw just 32 innings with a 4.50 ERA. Prior to his amazing 2012 season, he had not posted an ERA below 4.00 since 2006 when he was a 26 year old with the Tigers.

While Rodney’s record ERA was certainly a surprise, it was matched by a significant improvement his underlying skills. He had a 9.2 K/9 rate while inducing ground balls 57.9% of the time. His swinging strike rate was very close to the best of his career, at 13.2%. The biggest surprise for Rodney was his markedly improved control, however. His career walk rate is 4.4 per nine innings, but in 2012 he walked just 1.8 per nine.

The Rays may want to see if he can repeat that level of command before making any further commitments, but doing so could mean losing him to a richer rival if he does.

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