Fernando Rodney is no stranger to a Detroit Tigers rebuild.
The closer spent 2002-2009 in a Tigers uniform, getting to experience the sorrows of 2003 as well as the joys of 2006 alongside Tigers greats. And now, according to MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo, it seems, the Tigers might be interested in a reunion with the 40-year-old relief pitcher.
Rodney has spent the last seven years bouncing around between both AL and NL teams, spending stints with the Angels, Rays, Mariners, Cubs, Padres, Marlins, and lastly with the Diamondbacks. He has been an All-Star three times since leaving the Tigers, and even placed fifth in Cy Young voting in 2012 with the Rays.
After fifteen years in the game, he still has decent numbers, and certainly enough gas left in the tank to interest the Tigers in a potential 1-year deal. Last season with the Diamondbacks he managed 39 saves, which is obviously not the greatest metric of success, but is still the best number he has posted since he collected 48 saves in 2014, and good enough for third best in the NL.
He also managed at 4.23 ERA, a 1.193 WHIP, and an impressive 3.03 FIP in 2017. Rodney had his best numbers in three years last season, at the age of 40.
Of course, his age will be a concern to the Tigers if they continue to pursue him as a relief arm. There’s a chance his 2017 numbers were a fluke and he will only regress from this point. During his tenure with the Tigers he had a 4.28 ERA, a 1.424 WHIP, and a 4.15 FIP, with a total of 70 saves. That’s over seven years.
If Rodney can give Detroit just one season like his 2017 campaign, and do so inexpensively — he was paid $2.75 million for his year with the Diamondbacks — it seems like a worthwhile gamble for the Tigers to take. They need bullpen help, and Rodney’s titled cap would bring an element of Tigers history back into the game.
Other teams seem interested in the reliever as well, with the Twins, Mets, Rangers, and his current club the Diamondbacks all interested in signing him. Rodney is currently in Orlando at the winter meetings, so a signing could be made before the end of the week.