Free-agent closer Fernando Rodney agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mariners, according to multiple reports, though the club declined to confirm the news Thursday afternoon. Any deal with Rodney won’t be official until he passes a physical, which will likely come next week. Mariners’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Tuesday in Peoria, Arizona.
After nine years with the Tigers and Angels, Rodney had a breakout year with the Rays in 2012, when he racked up 48 saves with a 0.60 ERA, striking out 76 batters in 74 2/3 innings to earn his first All-Star Game berth, the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award and a fifth-place finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting. He was not as overpowering last season, but still recorded 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 66 2/3 frames. For his career, the Dominican native has a 3.70 ERA and 172 saves with 551 strikeouts in 571 1/3 innings. Source: Greg Johns at MLB (The Mariners will have to make room for him on the 40-man roster. Avery or Triunfel seem like the best DFA candidates.)
“Oh, it’s beyond easy to envision Rodney coming apart and turning into what Yoervis Medina actually is. It’s easy to envision Rodney turning into a guy we never want to see on the mound in a game closer than six. That’s something Rodney already was, for a long time, and now he’s older and not pitching to Jose Molina, and even a good version of Rodney puts people with weak hearts in hospitals. Rodney’s never going to feel safe, and as he shoots his celebratory arrow, it’ll be accompanied by the sound of some tens of thousands of people finally breathing. It’ll sound like an actual arrow in flight. Prepare yourself for even the good outcome to be mildly traumatizing.” Source: Jeff Sullivan at USSMariner
Comment From Big Fan: So the Mariners have addressed catcher, what about closer? I think Rodney is the ticket.
Dave Cameron: He’s worse than Farquhar.
Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk has ranked each team’s bullpen by his projected ERA. The Mariners ranked 9th of the 15 AL teams with a projected ERA of 3.42. Not as good as the 3rd ranked A’s at 3.16 or the 4th place Rangers at 3.31 but better than the 13th place Angels at 3.58 and the last place Astros at 3.97. Signing Rodney might help this outlook, but probably not enough to catch the A’s and Rangers.
My hat typically points in the direction that I pitch.
Comment From Furman: Any update to how the Mariners are going to handle Ackley, Franklin, and Miller?
Dave Cameron: Franklin doesn’t have a job, that’s how.
Comment From Vic: Are you high on Brad Miller as others at Fangraphs?
Dave Cameron: I’m a fan, yes.
Comment From Danny: Did M’s fans overreact to the Jaso-Morse trade? His catching skills were always limited, and without power, his upside as DH is 1-2 wins?
Dave Cameron: So the team traded three years of a cheap +2 WAR player for one year of a more expensive +1 WAR player, and you think it was fine?
Comment From Danny: Are you optimistic on Abraham Almonte? Think he gets 300+ PAs this year?
Dave Cameron: No, I’d guess he spends the year in Tacoma.
Comment From Andrew: Stefan Romero is just another AAAA guy, right?
Dave Cameron: Yeah, probably.
AL West Commentary
As he prepares to head into the third season of his decade long contract, it’s worth pondering whether or not he can rebound or if we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of Albert Pujols. One would have to imagine though that if there’s some game left in him, we’re going to see it this year. He’s only 34, but there’s plenty of mileage on that body to date. The last two years have not been kind to him, and there’s no arguing against the fact that he’s a declining player. It’s just a matter of whether or not he can get back to a healthy enough state to be an impact player for the Angels. With his foot appearing to be at 100 percent and reportedly going through a normal offseason, signs point to yes. If he’s able to do so, the Angels are almost certainly a team that’ll be in the mix for a playoff spot out of the AL West. Source: Randy Holt at Call To The Pen
Source: Rangers are in talks with free agent starter Tommy Hanson. From: Jon Morosi at Fox Sports
Comment From JimR: The Angels need more (better) starting pitching, but they have no prospects for trade chips. Are they just dead in the water?
Dave Cameron: When you have an elite offense, you can get by with okay pitching. That will be the Angels hope for 2014.
So they said
“The body is good to go. The mind is never 100 percent,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve always got problems there. But the body is great.” Logan Morrison to Greg Johns at MLB
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Free agent Tommy Hanson has received multiple offers and is “in a great place mentally and physically,” according to agent Greg Genske.
Comment From missing Mike Cameron: Will the Mariners sign anyone who can actually play center field?
Dave Cameron: No, if they sign Cruz, then Saunders likely shifts to CF.
The Mariners say they are all in and yes, are cautiously optimistic they will also sign slugger Nelson Cruz. From: Bob Nightengale at USAToday (Their optimism = my pessimism.)
That’s three GMs who think the Mariners could sign Nelson Cruz (or Kendrys Morales) and deal Justin Smoak to a team like the Pirates. From: Peter Gammons at Gammons Daily (Not likely, as that would mean GMZ has to admit that he screwed up when he traded for both Smoak and Montero.)
Baseball Best Practice
There’s still a healthy demand for relievers — eight have signed for $10 million or more and 26 have obtained at least $2 million so far this off-season. They just aren’t getting the same lengthy guarantees that Jonathan Papelbon, B.J. Ryan, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez obtained within the last ten years. Relievers are now finding out the hard way that teams are simply less inclined than before to lock major dollars into long-term bullpen deals. Source: Ben Nicholson-Smith at sportsnet.ca
Comment From SF Dave: Eno brought up the DH penalty of 10% because “coming off the bench to hit is hard”. Is there research to back this? Seems like a hard thing to say as one player can’t be a full time DH AND a full time Position Player at the same age, in the same year.
Dave Cameron: The Book has a whole chapter on this. The DH penalty is absolutely real.
Comment From Concerned White Sox Fan: I know that everyone thinks that Hahn had a great offseason with the trades and signings he’s made. Do any of these players other than possibly Abreu have any star potential? I see a bunch of future league average regulars which is not how you build an annual contender
Dave Cameron: Actually, it is. See the Oakland A’s.
Jon Garland is probably not going to pitch in 2014, according to his agent, Craig Landis. He is 34, made 12 starts with Rockies last year. Updating on another Craig Landis client: He said free agent starter Joe Saunders is fully healthy and will pitch this year. From: Jon Morosi at Fox Sports
Comment From Brandon: What do you think of the league’s new metal detector mandate?
Dave Cameron: Seems like it’s worsening the fan experience for little or no security gain.
Comment From Brandon: When will the Orioles pry open their wallet wide enough to sign a free agent you can identify without googling?
Dave Cameron: I’d bet on them signing one of the remaining big name free agent pitchers, and Kendrys Morales.
Comment From Kevin: What are your predictions for where Santana, Jimenez, and Burnett sign?
Dave Cameron: I’ll go with Baltimore, Toronto, and Pittsburgh.
Comment From Needing a home: Where is Mike Carp on Opening day? Dave Cameron: Pittsburgh.