Time to take a break from all the Mariners news for a minute and have a discussion with you.
As you’re probably aware, Fernando Rodney was one of the best closers in the MLB last season, at least statistically. With 48 saves and a 2.85 ERA, he was always there when we needed him with the game close.
However, every time he took the mound, I worried just a little bit. There wasn’t a single player on the team that made my emotions swing so much over the course of a single half-inning.
Almost without fail, he would walk a couple batters or let them get on base in some fashion before shutting it down and finishing the game.
Either he never really understood that giving up hits with a one- or two-run game in the bottom of the ninth is a bad thing, or he didn’t warm up efficiently until he got in the game, or always had nerves, but I was always scared until the final out was made.
I have to admit though, seeing him shoot the arrow into the sky every game, along with LoMo coming and asking where it went (at least that’s how the conversation goes in my mind) was quite entertaining.
So, you ask me, where is this going?
Well, Rodney only has one year, and $7 million, left on his contract. The question is what the M’s do with him. I see three options:
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Obviously, they could keep him around and offer him an extension/new contract.
They could also just keep him around for next year, and let him be a free agent next year.
They could try to put him in a trade and ship him out somewhere for a right fielder (or anybody really)
I don’t see Option 1 being the route the M’s take. They have too much good young pitching on the 40-man roster and in AAA to keep an aging (37) closer around, despite how good he could be.
Option two and three, in my mind, are both equally valid. Rodney arguably had one of the best seasons of his career, posting the second lowest ERA of his career and making the All-Star team for a second time (Reasons to both keep him and use him for trade bait).
If the M’s were to give him up in a trade, the question becomes who the M’s start in his place.
I’m a fan of Carson Smith, personally. In the limited experience he had at the MLB level last year (eight innings), he impressed me with his pitches, decisions, and command. Who knows what he would do with an increased workload.
As Tacoma’s closer last year, Smith threw for a 2.93 ERA and 10 saves. Who knows what he would do with an increased MLB workload.
I also don’t mind Charlie Furbush as the next M’s closer. He actually saved one game last year, threw a 3.61 ERA, and had a similar innings load to Rodney last year.
What do you think?