After losing three key pieces of their bullpen, the San Diego Padres signed veteran reliever Fernando Rodney. Can they catch lightning in a bottle in 2016?
The San Diego Padres are doing everything they can to compete in the National League West. The top contenders signed big-name players to solidify their spot at the top. The Padres seem to be going backwards. After losing their top three relief pitchers, the team had no choice but to sign veteran relief pitcher Fernando Rodney. After a horrible 2015 season, the Padres found a bargain in Rodney. Can he revive some of the magic he had in years past?
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Fernando Rodney has been in the league since 2002, but didn’t find major success until his 2009 season with the Detroit Tigers when he recorded 37 saves and 61 strikeouts in 75.2 innings. In two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2012 to 2013, he recorded 85 saves with a 1.91 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 141.1 innings. He then signed with Seattle in 2014 and had 48 saves with a 2.85 ERA and 1.34 WHIP.
It then came all crashing down in 2015.
He split the season with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. In 54 games with Seattle, he had 16 saves with a 5.68 ERA, 1.500 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 50.2 innings. In that time, he allowed 32 runs and blown six saves. He had just 7.64 K/9 and 4.44 BB/9.
Rodney has always had an inflated ERA and WHIP. He averages a 3.71 ERA and 1.36 WHIP after 13 seasons. He’s been known to work himself into, and out of, trouble. Fantasy owners that had Rodney would know that first hand. It’s clear his best years are behind him, but the Padres are hoping that he can still deliver with his mid-90s fastball.
There is some hope for Fernando Rodney in 2016, though.
His ground ball rate was 50.6 percent, same as 2013. He had more control over the fly balls when he joined the Cubs, 21.4 fly ball rate. Rodney had a 11.25 strikeout and 3.00 walk rate with Chicago. A change of scenery looked to be the catalyst for a change in Rodney’s performance. Maybe one more move can bring him back to normal.
Fernando Rodney will turn 39 before Opening Day. The Padres are likely to be at the bottom of the NL West, but that doesn’t mean they stop trying. Rodney does not belong in the top 20 of closers. He’s no Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit or even Shawn Kelley, but could be worth a late-draft flyer as a speculative pick.
Projections: 3.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 60 strikeouts, 26 saves
Draft: Round 24