The Seattle Mariners have come to terms on a two-year $14 million deal with free-agent closer Fernando Rodney today. The deal includes incentives that could bring the right hander’s salary up to $15 million in 2014.
The news, first reported by ESPN and Grantland’s Jonah Keri, silences the many rumors that have been swirling around Rodney for weeks. He’d been linked to the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, New York Mets and other teams, but only recently to Seattle.
Quite a few teams are still actively looking for and in need of a closer. Seattle wasn’t desperately in need of bullpen help which makes this a bit of a surprise.
The Mariners could have easily used Danny Farquhar who will now likely be pushed back into the set up role. Farquhar hasn’t had much success in Major League Baseball posting a 13.50 ERA in three games with Toronto in 2011. In all fairness he hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself. He did not pitch in 2012 being selected off of waivers first by the Oakland Athletics and then later that year by the Yankees. He was then sent to Seattle as part of the Ichiro Suzuki trade. He had a bit more success in 46 games with the Mariners last season. He posted a much lower 4.20 ERA in 2013. So Farquhar does absolutely have potential which explains the Mariners lack of desperation to add to their bullpen strength.
Teams that missed out on signing Rodney must be envious of the Mariners. They are still seeking a strong closer and at this point there are just not many options left on the market. Last season with the Tampa Bay Ray Rodney was dominant; he recorded 37 saves and had 83 strikeouts in just 66 2/3 innings of work.
After having signed former Yankees’ second baseman, Robinson Cano, to a major deal back in December, the Mariners began showing that they are very serious winning and winning right now. The team has also been linked to free-agent slugger Nelson Cruz. It is now questionable whether or not they will spend the money to sign Cruz. The Mariners also brought in first baseman Corey Hart from the Milwaukee Brewers this off-season; he should protect Cano in the lineup. With another big bat the Mariners may have a chance to compete in the tough American League West.
There is no sign that the Mariners are finished spending and Nelson Cruz will come at a price. There is also no sign that they are still interested in Cruz after signing Rodney to what could come to $15 million dollars over the next two years. It should be interesting to see how badly the Mariners really do want to win. If they go after Cruz after this signing it certainly will be sending a message to the rest of the AL West.