Blue Jays rumors: Why is Fernando Rodney link so ridiculous?


The Blue Jays rumored interest in relief pitcher Fernando Rodney has been met with widespread groans, but on a baseball level, the Toronto fit is legitimate

Earlier in the week we chewed over a rumor from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the Blue Jays were kicking the tires on veteran free agent reliever Fernando Rodney (There was some Andrew Miller fluff in there, too, but more as comic relief). Yesterday afternoon, this tweet from SBNation’s Chris Cotillo put some added meat on the bone: 

The interest in Rodney is being treated as the Blue Jays scraping the bottom of the barrel yet again, and admittedly, this isn’t an arm from the top shelf or glass case. In all honesty, the majority of those discounting Rodney at first glance are either turned off by his tilted hat or shooting-arrow celebration. Which, obviously, isn’t the greatest level of analysis to live on.

If a man can record outs late in ball games on a modest salary, let him wear an hunter’s orange toque and choreograph six-minute routines with the J Force. It doesn’t matter.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

That first issue, of whether or not Rodney can still pitch, depends on which chunk of recent performance you choose to believe. Over his first 50.2 innings with the Mariners in 2015, he wasn’t worth a Major League roster spot. His 5.68 ERA and 1.500 WHIP over that span allowed the Chicago Cubs to swoop in and buy low, and in his short 2015 finale with that club, he was excellent.

Looking at the three years prior to his up-and-down 2015 (2012-2014), Rodney averaged nearly 70 innings per season and earned a cumulative ERA of 2.21, K/9 of 10.1 and saved a whopping 133 ball games. There have been rumblings all offseason that the Jays have been looking for closer’s experience, so if you believe his 2014 (and late 2015) form is re-attainable, what’s wrong with Rodney? Age and velocity will of course be a factor, but velocity still isn’t something the right-hander lacks.

Another stumbling block is role, as Rodney surely wants to find the most opportune situation to earn closer’s duties. The majority of one season from a 20-year old has sold Canada on Roberto Osuna as the closer for the next decade, but that’s a situation more flexible than many think. Moving Osuna from the closer’s role and using him similarly to Brett Cecil has great value of it’s own. Or perhaps, Rodney would be content in that setup role. These things are not cemented in stone.

The other finalists do seem likelier than Toronto at this point, perhaps Chicago being a favorite to watch, but the narrative of Fernando Rodney being a signing to scoff at is paper-thin for me. Albeit an underwhelming or wildcard option, he’s a fully legitimate one.