The Minnesota Twins are in search of ways to improve their bullpen this offseason and made their first addition by signing veteran closer Fernando Rodney.
The Minnesota Twins have had a Winter Meetings that has been full of a lot of rumors but hasn’t resulted in as much action as many had hoped. There was the more 2019 oriented signing of Michael Pineda that was reported earlier in the week but not much else. As Wednesday turned into Thursday action started to pick up on the relief pitcher market and the Twins jumped into the fray.
It has been announced that the Twins and veteran closer Fernando Rodney have agreed to a 1-year $4.5 million deal which includes incentives making the deal worth as much as $6 million.
Twins fans are likely most familiar with Rodney from his time with the Detroit Tigers during the beginning of his career. Since leaving Detroit, Rodney has had stops with the Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, and most recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017.
At age 40 Rodney had a solid 2017 as he appeared in 61 games recording 39 saves over 55.1 innings. His ERA of 4.23 is a little higher than you would like to see as a closer, but it seems that he gave up runs in bunches which is reflected in a FIP of 3.03 which is considerably lower than his ERA. Rodney has also spent the past several seasons with a K/9 above 10, striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings this past season with the Diamondbacks.
Rodney is still able to ramp his fastball into the upper 90’s while mixing in some off speed stuff in the mid to lower 80’s. That arsenal of pitches helped him record a swinging strike rate of 12.2% this past season. Rodney’s velocity and ability to miss bats all add up to a pitcher profile the Twins recent bullpens have been without.
At this point, it appears that Rodney would be the frontrunner for the Twins closer role, with Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger likely continuing in set-up roles. There are still plenty of intriguing arms available via free agency not to mention a trade still could be a strong possibility. Rumors continue to point to continued conversations between the Twins and Rays so maybe Alex Colome comes back up or the Twins may try to acquire someone like Brad Hand from the Padres.
Basically, keep an eye on what else may happen with the Twins pitching staff as the offseason continues. The Hot Stove has been plenty hot and is starting to produce action as well. Keep checking back for Twins updates!