The Mets have made some splashes this offseason. With the acquisitions of outfielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Bartolo Colon, the team has gone out and made some significant moves. Now it’s getting to the point where there is a lull in the free agent market, despite there being a few bigger names out there. Stephen Drew obviously comes to mind. His market has been tough to gauge, and it doesn’t appear many times, if any, are willing to give him a large multi-year deal. If the Mets could snag him on a one-year contract, I’m all for it. However, there is one piece out there that is intriguing, and that I’d love to see in the Met uniform. That is relief pitcher Fernando Rodney.
Sep 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Fernando Rodney (56) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Tampa defeated Toronto 7-6. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Since the 2007 season, the Mets have had more downs than ups, something that anyone who has followed the team knows. Whether it was poor offseason moves, or untimely hitting, things just haven’t gone right for the Metropolitans. One thing that has been consistent, in a bad way, has been the lack of bullpen help. While you can make the argument that Bobby Parnell was solid last year, which he was, there was not much around him for most of the year. Although the bullpen did see a resurgence toward the second half of the year, especially with newly acquired Vic Black, the bullpen has been a weakness for many years, especially in the matter of depth and innings eaters.
Relievers can be erratic, as mentioned in an earlier Rising Apple piece, and that seems to be true for Rodney as well, especially in the early portion of his career. He had ERAs in the mid-fours, while posting WHIPs in the 1.400-1.500 range during his time with the Tigers and Angels. While he did have his struggles in those years, the past two years, especially 2012, he was solid for the Tampa Bay Rays.
His 2012 campaign was so good that he was up for the coveted CY Young Award, placing fifth in the voting. His numbers were off the charts, posting a WHIP under one, a 0.60 ERA, while collecting 48 saves.
Last year he was a bit more inconsistent, especially with early season struggles. He did settle down through the midway point of the year, and finished with solid numbers at the back-end of the pen for the Wild Card Champion Rays. He recorded 37 saves, posted a 3.38 ERA and a 1.335 WHIP, despite having issues with command through the first half of the season.
While you may think he’s erratic and would not be someone who should be in the bullpen at Citi Field, he should at least be considered. Many relievers have their years where they have it and are lock down, and then years where they can’t buy an out. Rodney would provide not only a hard thrower, but someone who can eat innings down the stretch.
Especially with the likes of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard coming up this summer, having strong arms behind them is valuable. For a 162 game season, Rodney is averaging just under 70 innings pitched a season, no small amount for a reliever.
While I’m not vouching him to become the next closer for the team, Parnell deserves that job, I do think he would be a great resource to have as a late inning reliever to shut down the door. If the Mets were in on Grant Balfour, they should at least consider Rodney as well. On a one or two-year deal, I say go for it, Sandy.