Minnesota Twins Opening Day Prediction: The 2018 Bullpen

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor /
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Minnesota Twins
PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 29: Relief pitcher Fernando Rodney /

Closer Fernando Rodney

The Twins signed Fernando Rodney this offseason to a one year and $4.25 million contract which also has a team option for 2019. At Rodney’s signing, he was promised the role of closer with the Twins. While he may not be the best reliever on the Twins staff, he will fit well into the closer role with the way the Twins have assembled their pitching staff this offseason.

Rodney spent the 2017 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks as their closer. Rodney pitched 55.1 innings while appearing 61 games. He saved 39 games with a 4.23 ERA while holding a 10.6 K/9. His ERA may look a little scarier than it actually is. Rodney’s biggest Achilles heel is that he will go through stretches where he just seems to lose his normal form. In 2017, that was Rodney’s April and May where he had a 12.60 ERA and July where he had a 9.00 ERA.

Rodney brings to the Twins 300 career saves. Which places him second among active major league pitchers behind only Francisco Rodriguez. Rodney is also tied for 26th all-time in saves. The Twins have been successful at slotting relief pitchers into the closer role that do not profile as closers and helping them have success.

The hope in 2018 will be that now that they roster a more typical closer and the role will continue to produce success. Of course, fans are going to want to be prepared for a week or two of blown saves or poor pitching from Rodney. What is good is that he usually breaks out of that trend and returns to being a solid closer. If he doesn’t, the Twins do have other options available.