Reports surfaced late Saturday night that the Washington Nationals have signed veteran reliever Fernando Rodney to a minor league deal.
The Washington Nationals’ bullpen has been a mess this season. On Saturday night Washington made another low-risk acquisition when they signed veteran reliever Fernando Rodney to a minor league deal. Tweet via Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports Radio.
Rodney is 42-year-old and has been in the major leagues since the 2002 season. He started the 2018 season with the Oakland A’s, and struggled greatly. In 17 appearances Rodney gave up 20 hits, 15 runs, and walked 12 in just 14.1 innings. After being designated for assignment by Oakland, Washington felt like taking a low-risk chance on the 42-year-old reliever was worth a shot.
Rodney actually performed well in 2018 and there was belief he still had some left in the tank, which led to Oakland bringing him back. In 2018, for the Minnesota Twins as well as Oakland, Rodney posted a 3.36 E.R.A. in 68 appearances. In 64.1 innings combined between the two clubs, he struck out 70 and gave up just seven home runs.
The 42-year-old has made an All-Star team as recently as 2016 and has always had a devastating changeup to go with his fastball. Obviously, as age has caught up to the veteran his fastball has not been able to reach the levels it did back in his heyday, but if he can regain his 2018 form he has a chance to have some success.
The Nationals currently have the highest bullpen E.R.A. in all of baseball at 6.85. The group as a whole has given up 141 runs in 174 innings pitched, and have single-handedly cost the Nationals at least five to six victories.
At this point, with the state of the Washington bullpen, and help for a cheap cost is worth exploring. It is possible Rodney at age 42 could have nothing left in the tank, but it is worth a shot for the Nationals to see how he can do.
Rodney will report to AAA Fresno, and the Nationals hope one of their low-risk moves on a veteran reliever will come to fruition this season.