The Mariners have agreed to sign former Rays closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $14 million contract, as Grantland's Jonah Keri reports. The deal includes performance-based incentives that could push the total up to $15 million.
Seattle has been toying with the idea of adding another impact player for some time, especially after Kevin Mather was named the team's next president and subsequently claimed the team could add to their payroll significantly.
Mather said adding payroll was up to general manager Jack Zduriencik, which basically guaranteed that they'd sign another player -- unless they were trying to rile up the folks in Washington enough to break out the pitchforks.
Rodney, 36, is coming off of a solid encore of his astronomical 2012 campaign. His 0.60 ERA that season vaulted him to the forefront of the closer conversation, but it was largely due to the fact that he somehow halved his walks per nine -- a new habit he wasn't able to sustain in 2013 (his BB/9 jumped from 1.81 in 2012 to 4.86 in 2013).
Last year, the noted plantain enthusiast saved 37 games for the Rays in 66⅔ innings with a 1.34 WHIP. His fielding-independent pitching numbers suggest he was nearly as effective as his monster 2012. Seems strange with that spike in walks, but, apparently, he was excellent at managing the other parts of the game that he could control. Before 2012, Rodney wasn't considered a dominant closer. Prior to his breakout campaign -- he had a 4.29 ERA in 430 innings for the Angels and Tigers from 2002-2011.
The M's used a mix of Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen last season. Wilhelmsen struggled enough to lose the ninth inning gig to Farquhar, a 26-year-old rookie. The Mariners will probably consider Farquhar an option for the 7th or 8th inning after he excelled as their closer -- 16 saves and a sub-3.00 ERA in August and September.
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