Blue Jays rumors: Toronto has inquired on Miller, Rodney
The Toronto Blue Jays, according to a report out of the Boston Globe, have made preliminary inquiries on Andrew Miller of the Yankees and Fernando Rodney
The MLB rumor mill is kicking back in to gear at long last, and Blue Jays fans will be interested in a couple of takeaways from Nick Cafardo’s column last night for the Boston Globe. In the piece, Cafardo links the Blue Jays to current Yankees closer Andrew Miller and free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
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As you might expect, they’re rather thin links, but they exist nonetheless. With Miller, we can almost breeze straight past him despite the report. “The Blue Jays would have to give up someone such as Marcus Stroman, and that’s just not happening.” No need to expand on that idea, as no, that’s not even a proposal worth keeping a straight face towards.
Fernando Rodney does make more sense in terms of the acquisition cost, and Cafardo writes that the Blue Jays have “kicked the tires” on him. I’m well aware that the tilted hat and shooting-arrow celebration have a large chunk of fans cringing just at the sight of the name, but, there is some logic behind the fit.
It’s been rumored since earlier in the offseason that Toronto is seeking a dynamic back-end arm, preferably one with closer’s experience. The only stumbling block is: it’s got to come on the cheap. In order to be affordable, that arm will likely need be older or coming off a difficult year. In Rodney, you’re looking at both. [*Confetti cannon fires]
The former Mariners, Rays, Angels and Tigers reliever posted a 5.68 ERA over 50.2 innings with the Mariners last season, but did turn it around with a 0.75 ERA over 12.0 innings in Chicago. In 2014 with the Mariners, Rodney enjoyed one of his stronger seasons with a career-high 48 saves and a 1.1 WAR.
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Rodney has lost about 1.5 MPH off his pitches since his final year with the Rays. It’s a worrying trend, but his power arm did still leave him with an average fastball velocity of 95.3 in 2015, which is hardly detrimental. His strongest pitch continues to be an excellent slider, which he threw nearly 40% of the time in 2015. Perhaps being in the same room as Marco Estrada, Pete Walker and Russell Martin could help to squeeze one more year out of that pitch.
The likelihood of the fit, of course, is another conversation entirely. I have a hunch that Rodney would prefer to be in an organization where he’s given, at the very least, an opportunity to compete for the closer’s role. With 236 career saves and 440 games finished, he’s got the track record, but there’s been nothing to indicate that the role will be leaving Roberto Osuna‘s grasp any time soon.