According to multiple reports, the Seattle Mariners are interested in free agent closer Fernando Rodney as he looks to find his next team after spending the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. While Rodney still has excellent stuff at this stage of his career and is one season removed from the best season ever by a relief pitcher, the Mariners shouldn’t really be in the market for a new closer as they have a fine option already in the bullpen with right-hander Danny Farquhar.
Farquhar saw his first significant action in the majors last season with Seattle and spent some time in the closer role. He finished the year with 16 saves in 46 appearances and 55.2 innings pitched as he flashed the ability to shut the door for Seattle for years to come. At 26 years old, he’s just entering his prime years as a pitcher, has a familiarity with Safeco Field, and is still relatively cheap to keep on the roster.
Rodney, meanwhile, is 36 years old and could be on the verge of his stuff falling off quite a bit. He was still very good in 2013, though he couldn’t match his record-setting season of 2012, as he recorded 37 saves in 68 appearances and 66.2 innings pitched. With his age, he’s limited in how far his arm can be stretched, as shown by his average of less than an inning per appearance. He did set a career-best last season with 82 strikeouts but he countered that with a career-worst eight blown saves.
When you compare the two, you see that Rodney is not much of an upgrade at all beyond his wealth of experience. Comparing their 2013 campaigns, Farquhar posted a better strikeouts per inning, walks per inning, strikeout to walk ratio and WHIP than Rodney did. He also converted 80 percent of his save opportunities (16 of 20) which is just barely off the mark that Rodney set last season of 82 percent (37 of 45). Add in the fact that there are multiple teams bidding for Rodney, and the veteran closer starts to make less sense financially.
As Seattle looks to add the final pieces to their roster before Spring Training, they would be wise to move past their flirtation with Fernando Rodney. There are plenty of holes on this roster that could be addressed with the money that would be tied up in signing the veteran right-hander and at the end of the day, he wouldn’t be much of an improvement for the back end of the bullpen. For now, Seattle should stick with what they have in Danny Farquhar as the closer in 2014 and the add to the team in other spots.