Back in October, I started drafting a post entitled, “Should the Cubs Bring Back Free Agent Fernando Rodney if it Takes a Big League Deal?”
Thanks to all busy-ness that ensued the initial draft over the past few weeks, I didn’t get too far beyond the headline, but I can tell you the answer was going to be something like “Yeah, I think so, and I think he’s going to get a big league deal.”
The gist of the post was going to be about how he was fantastic after being traded to the Cubs – he posted a 0.75/3.47/3.12 ERA/FIP/xFIP over 12.0 innings and 14 appearances, striking out 30.0%(!) of the batters he faced, and walking just 8.0%.
Moreover, our eye test matched the numbers – he looked legitimately good, commanding his fastball well and featuring a nasty changeup – and there were real changes to what he was doing that backed up the resurgence after a disastrous start of the year in Seattle. As Beyond the Box Score noted, Rodney’s release point was tweaked in Chicago, as was his pitch mix.
The questions with Rodney remain, obviously, as he’ll pitch next year at 39, and he did suffer through those rough times. But the upside is sufficient that a low-dollar, maybe-high-incentive big league contract is probably worth the risk and the roster spot for some team out there.
And that brings us to why I dug the old post back up today for sharing, and you can see it reflected in the new headline.
Mike Berardino reports that the Cubs, together with the Twins and Padres are showing the most interest in Rodney. Therein, Berardino’s sources say Rodney is looking for a spot where he’ll have a chance to close. I doubt that would be the case with the Cubs, but it’s possible he could work his way into the mix if Hector Rondon were to falter (and assuming the Cubs don’t acquire this rumored, mythical closer out there).
Rodney was obviously very successful with the Cubs, and there is familiarity with both Joe Maddon, and, now, the coaching staff. He might not be a front-burner re-signing for the Cubs, but if he hangs around in free agency for a while, and doesn’t land a significant contract elsewhere, I can see a lot of sense in a return to Chicago.