Should The Braves Take A Chance On Fernando Rodney?

The Mariners have designated former closer Fernando Rodney for assignment. From 2012-2014, Rodney had 48, 37 and a league leading 48 saves, respectively. This year has been a different story. The 38 year old RHP has a 5.68 ERA with 6 blown saves. His ERA numbers from 2012-2014 were .060, 3.38, and 2.85 respectively. These statistics were good enough for him to be an All-Star in 2012 and 2014. He’s had a rough patch, and needs a team to give him a chance. He carries a blazing 95-98 mph fastball and some good secondary pitches to match. His strikeout numbers are down and he’s 38, but still has a proven track record. The Braves obviously need bullpen help, so could Atlanta and Fernando Rodney be a perfect match?

Sounds a lot like our old friend Jim Johnson. Johnson spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the Orioles closer and saved over 50 games in each season. The 5th round pick by the Orioles had finally molded himself into a very nice MLB player. However, Johnson signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2014 and became a complete disaster. He had a 7.09 ERA in 2014 and many figured his career could be over. The Braves signed Johnson in hopes he could return to the pitcher he was prior to the 2014 season, and he did just that. Johnson had a 2.25 ERA in 49 appearances for Atlanta. Pitching coach Roger McDowell must have really gotten to Johnson and helped him fix his game, so perhaps he can do the same thing for Fernando Rodney.

So should the Braves go after Rodney? Yes, but for the right price. Rodney is set to make about $7 million. I would take him off of Seattle’s hands for half of that, maybe even $4-$5 million. Rodney could do 1 of 3 things:

1. Totally flop. If so, oh well. $3.5- $5 Million is a drop in the bucket for a major league club.

2. Tear it up. Become the 50 save man of the past and provide us with an effective closer option.

3. Play well enough to deal him like we did with Jim Johnson.

Either way, I don’t see the Braves losing out too much on this deal. Take a chance (if he’ll fix his stupid hat), because at this point, why not?

Rodney was designated for assignment, meaning he has 10 days to be released, traded or dealt to another team. Rodney cleared revocable trade waivers last week, and considering they are now DFA’ing him there clearly was not a trade market for his services with his current price tag (he is in the second year of a 2 year/$14 million deal. The Braves’ best strategy is likely to play the waiting game, as Rodney will inevitably decline a minor league assignment, knowing teams will be in the market for his services at a discount. This will make him a free agent, willing to sign without the burden of his contract, much like Edwin Jackson. With that being said, the Braves have kind of hit rock bottom since the All-Star Break, and Rodney may want to pitch for a contender. Hopefully Roger McDowell can be a factor in his decision to play here, and hopefully Rodney can be his next reclamation project.

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