The Arizona Diamondbacks add help to the back-end of their bullpen.
If the Arizona Diamondbacks are looking to strengthen the back-end of their bullpen, they found relief.
Though the signing of Fernando Rodney to a one-year deal Friday for a reported $2.75 million and could be as high as $5 million with incentives., the move is likely temporary in general manager Mike Hazen’s long-term objectives to improve the club. Last season, Rodney earned a reported $1.6 million.
For now, Rodney fills a dramatic need and prompted Hazen to indicate a vital part of the bullpen was solidified.
“Signing (Rodney) gives us a plan to build from there,” Hazen said Friday night during a conference call with reporters. “At this point, we feel very comfortable with the personnel we have. We still need to build depth, and now there’s increased competition.”
With Rodney as the closer for the 2017 season, this should help in the development of Jake Barrett and Enrique Burgos, both of whom has a shot as a closer last season. While neither is guaranteed a spot on 25-man, opening day roster, Hazen indicated both could be potential contributors.
As a rule, a productive closer and one who keeps his team in the pennant race could appear in around 70 games. Rodney delivers that track record.
For further consideration, Rodney will be 40-years-old on March 18, but still pitch for the Dominican Republic during up-coming World Baseball Classic. Depending on how is used in the WBC and his preparation for the major-league season, Barrett and Burgos could develop as significant back-end personnel.
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“During the course of a game, there are many important situations that arise, and not just the final three outs,” Hazen said. “Things could develop in the fifth, the sixth, and the last innings of a game. There will be opportunities for relievers in situations throughout the game. In these kinds of situations, we can break them in.”
For Rodney, last season was nearly a tale of two seasons. Combined with San Diego and Miami, Rodney, appeared in 67 games. Appearing in 28 games for the Padres, he was 0-1, but recorded a sparkling 0.39 ERA with 17 saves.
Last June 30, he was dealt to the Marlins for Chris Paddock, a right-handed pitcher. If Rodney had success on the west coast, he experienced a tumultuous ride with Miami. In south Florida, Rodney appeared in 39 games, went 2-3 with a 5.89 ERA, eight saves and three blown saves.
As a 14-year, major league veteran, Rodney appeared in 767 games and recorded 261 saves with seven teams
“This is a tough sport for pitchers,” Hazen said. “Rodney has been very durable and pitched a very high level for a long time. Perhaps the trade to Miami might have been a little discouraging.”
For now, Rodney answers Hazen’s desire to fill the closer role with a competent, veteran arm. Given his age and experience last season with the Marlins, the question persists, can Rodney go it alone as the closer, and whether Barrett, Burgos and possible others develop in a swift manner to provide help at the back end of the bullpen.