The Winter Meetings wrapped up and the Los Angeles Dodgers left without making any major additions. We continue to take a look at those free agents still available that could fill a need with the team.
Today, we take a look at a right-handed reliever that has been primarily a closer the past few seasons:
Rodney is a 36-year-old reliever that spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. In his career, he has a 3.70 ERA with 172 saves in 563 games over 11 seasons.
The right-hander was the Rays’ closer last season and finished the season with 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 68 appearances. He struck out 82 batters in 66.2 innings for the AL Wild Card winner.
Rodney has proven to be durable in the past few years, as he has appeared in at least 68 games in four of the past five seasons. He has thrown in 144 games the past two seasons with the Rays. The right-hander would provide another capable arm in the later innings for the Dodgers. He knows his arm and would be slightly more effective than a younger pitcher that could wear down late in the season.
The Dodgers are rumored to be in the market for a top reliever with closing experience and get exactly that with Rodney. He’s spent time in middle innings and has proved to be a very effective closer. On nights when closer Kenley Jansen can’t go, Rodney could fill in, if needed. He would give manager Don Mattingly another late-inning arm that can handle high-leverage situations.
The 36-year-old is a high energy pitcher that would fit in well in the Dodger bullpen and clubhouse. Rodney played with shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the Dominican team that won the 2013 World Baseball Classic. His eccentric attitude would mesh well with the likes of Brian Wilson, Ramirez and Yasiel Puig.
After spending the last two seasons as a closer, Rodney may be reluctant to sign with a team as a middle reliever. The Dodgers would want Rodney as a seventh-inning man and fill-in for Wilson or Jansen in games they can’t pitch. The right-hander excels as a closer and would rather go to a team where he can finish games, rather than be a bridge to those later innings. The last time Rodney wasn’t used as a closer, he had trouble with management and had a 4.50 ERA.
Rodney had one of the best seasons by a closer in 2012, when he finished with a 0.60 ERA and 47 saves for the Rays. He allowed just five earned runs in 76 games and had a WHIP of 0.78; however, last season, Rodney had a 3.38 ERA and his WHIP jumped to 1.34 in 68 games. The regression could be a cause for concern, especially since Rodney isn’t getting younger. The Dodgers would have to be sure that Rodney will be effective.
The former All-Star faltered against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS last season, allowing two runs on one hit and three walks in 1.1 innings. He’d done fairly well in his other postseason appearance in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers, but last season could be a greater measure of his work in the playoffs. The Dodgers need an arm that can be counted on in pressure situations.
The Rays had Rodney at a bargain price the past two years after he made over $5 million in 2010-2011. He will be in the market for a raise and could see his salary reach $5 million again . The right-hander should be looking for a multi-year deal and could see himself get a two or three year deal worth $4-7 million annually.
Chances Dodgers Sign Him: 20%
The Dodgers need one more arm for the later innings and Rodney is one of the best still available; however, he would likely want to remain a closer and wouldn’t be able to do that in Los Angeles. If the team can convince him to join a contender in a lesser role, we may see Rodney and his crooked cap at Dodger Stadium next season.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Brian Wilson agreed to a one-year deal last week