Seattle Mariners: Fernando Rodney Is a Risk


Sep 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Tampa defeated Toronto 7-6. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners are making moves. Are they the right ones?

Obviously sports is an arena of unpredictable results. Teams have to take chances, roll the dice and hope that things work out.

It is clear that the Mariners felt like they needed to upgrade the closer position. After last year, the organization appears to believe that Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar are not the solution.

Is Fernando Rodney the answer? $14 million says he is.

Here is the key concern. You have to be just a little nervous when a player’s best year was not last season. Players do have ups and downs, but when you are 36, the assumption is that the overall trend is going to be downward.

Wilhelmsen had 24 saves and five blown opportunities in 2013. Farquhar was 16 and four in those two categories.

Rodney had 37 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. How many did he blow? Eight. Oh my.

The organization would obviously like the 2012 version of Rodney. Specifically, the version that had 48 saves, two blown opportunities and a microscopic 0.60 ERA. Oh, and a WAR of 3.7 for the year as opposed to his 2013 WAR (0.5).

Will the real Fernando Rodney please stand up?

When you look at Rodney’s career, it is a bit of a rollercoaster. In 11 seasons, he really only has three years where he was a productive closer. He has 172 saves, but he also has 47 blown saves. Not exactly a great conversion rate.

The role of closer is a very funny position in baseball. Your memory has to be very short, and you have to possess the mental toughness to go after people in high-pressure situations. Oh, and it is helpful if you don’t give any runs. None.

Will Fernando Rodney work out? The numbers suggest that is really depends on which player shows up. Rodney’s statistical history does not suggest a steady, consistent closer. He is either on or, well, not.

Good luck, Mr. Rodney. The faithful fans of the Seattle Mariners hope you can slam the door effectively this season.

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