The Chicago Cubs have acquired 38-year-old righty reliever Fernando Rodney from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash.
I took a quick peek at Rodney’s numbers on FanGraphs over the weekend when the Mariners designated him for assignment, wondering just how far he’d fallen, and whether he might be a nice add for the bullpen-needy Cubs.
I didn’t mention any of this, though, because what my quick scan revealed was frighteningly bad: 5.68 ERA, 5.26 FIP, 4.63 xFIP, 1.42 HR/9, .295 BABIP, 70.2% LOB, 18.9% K rate, 11.0% BB rate. Nothing in the batted ball data was encouraging, either. His velocity was about where it was last year (not bad, in the mid-90s), but that was down from his best years before that.
In sum, my quick scan revealed the portrait of a rapidly declining 38-year-old reliever who could no longer get out big league hitters.
But, hey. Here we are. And the Cubs have acquired him. Presumably for almost nothing. I’ll have to give him a more significant look in the coming days.
What’s the upside here? Well, I suppose it’s the hope that there’s some obvious and easily-correctable mechanical or sequencing flaw that the Cubs have already identified, and it will make him at least something approximating what he was last year and in the years before, which was an excellent, arrow-slinging reliever. Rodney – like Rafael Soriano – was particularly good recently in his years pitching for Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay.
We’ll see, I guess. The Cubs must’ve liked him enough to put him immediately on the big league roster, though. I’m going to keep an open mind, as they’ve got more information than I do. He really was legitimately very, very good from 2012 to 2014. It’s just … this year … not so much. Guys do bounce back for the stretch run after a change of scenery some times, though, and it’s not like the Cubs need him to be an elite closer or anything. Just a nice, innings-eating reliever would be a good addition.
Rodney takes Zac Rosscup’s spot in the bullpen, as the lefty was optioned back to Iowa. I assume he’ll return on September 1, or shortly thereafter. Rodney gets his 40-man roster spot from Brian Schlitter, who was designated for assignment.