Blue Jays: Free agent bullpen targets with closer’s experience

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Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Fernando Rodney (38)
2015: 62.2 IP, 4.74 ERA, 236 career saves

Trust me, I’m just as surprised to be talking about Fernando Rodney right now. But in the interest of leaving no stone unturned, he does fit the billing of a relatively inexpensive reliever with closer’s experience. At 38 years old and exiting a two-year, $14 million contract, Rodney’s value could sink to a level more comfortable for the Blue Jays.

Past his big personality, which you’ll either love or hate, Rodney has put up some very impressive seasons, even recently. The first year of his most recent contract with the Seattle Mariners saw him save a career high 48 games with a 2.85 ERA and 10.3 K/9 en route to an All Star appearance.

Rodney was actually a largely mediocre pitcher (4.30 ERA) until his age-35 season with the Tampa Bay Rays, which produced one of the more impressive relief stat lines in recent memory. Saving 48 ball games in 76 appearances, Rodney managed a startling 0.60 ERA and 0.777 WHIP. His control was locked in that season, walking a career low 1.8  batters per nine innings and allowing just two home runs.

Like many relievers in their 30s, Rodney is hitting the market after the wrong season. His fastball velocity hasn’t shown much sign of regression, but it’s value certainly dropped in 2015 with the Mariners and Cubs. With that, his typically strong changeup was hampered. Expect Rodney to be searching for a one-year deal, and somehow, someway, to continue shooting arrows at the end of ball games.

Next: Need closing experience? Who you gonna Qualls?