Minnesota Twins: Key to 2018 success is Fernando Rodney

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 22: Fernando Rodney
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 22: Fernando Rodney /

The Minnesota Twins have rebuilt their bullpen and excitement is building in the Twin Cities. The Twins made an improbable run to the playoffs during the 2017 season, and look ready to take the next step this season.

One of those new faces for the Minnesota Twins is closer Fernando Rodney. Minnesota also signed another late-inning reliever, Addison Reed, and his impact will be felt immediately. However, Rodney will be pitching the ninth inning to start the 2018 season.

Rodney has been around for a long time and has filled many different roles in the bullpen. He broke into the big leagues way back in 2002 with the Detroit Tigers and quickly made a name for himself throwing 100 MPH darts out of the bullpen.

Rodney’s best season came in 2012 while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched in 76 games and had a .60 ERA while collecting 48 saves. That was good enough for Rodney to finish fifth in the Cy Young award voting and 13th in the MVP voting that year.

He hasn’t come close to matching that production in the five seasons following 2012. However, Rodney has shown he’s still a quality reliever, even as he enters his 40’s. Minnesota will need his continued success in order to contend during the ’18 season.

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The impact Rodney will have in 2018

The Minnesota Twins will need Rodney to stay in closers role for the entirety of the 2018 season. This will enable manager Paul Molitor to deploy Reed during any high leverage situation during the game. Rodney and Reed will be the most important pitchers in the bullpen and the Twins will need them to perform in order to reach their goals this season.

Rodney had a 4.23 ERA across 61 games with 39 saves for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2017 season. He has been around the league a long time and there isn’t a situation that Rodney hasn’t encountered.

This season should be even better for Rodney. He will have one of the best defenses in baseball behind him. As long as he can keep the ball in the yard, Rodney will have an impactful season. Rodney has consistently appeared in 60 or games throughout his career and there’s no reason to believe that won’t be the case with Minnesota.

The Minnesota Twins are in good hands late in games with Rodney and Reed. The bullpen wasn’t a weakness for this team during 2017 and even helped the Twins reach the postseason. However, with the additions made this Winter, the bullpen will be a strength and help keep this team in contention for the ’18 season.

Next: What needs to happen for the Twins to be successful in 2018?

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