So word on the street is that Fernando Rodney has reached a deal with the Seattle Mariners. Same word states the deal is for two years and $14MM.
Now the question: Is Rodney worth 14 large? Some housekeeping here.
The Fernando Rodney of 2013 was nowhere near the Fernando Rodney of 2012. How could it have been. Closers dream of a season Rodney posted that year. Seems like that year was a bit of a mirage as compared to last season, but it wasn’t a complete failure. Actually, if you look at each of Rodney’s individual seasons since he broke in during the 2002 season, what he produced in 2013 is roughly about what his career numbers are.
From 2002 to 2011, Rodney was pretty ordinary and did have a couple of less than successful seasons. Some numbers from that timeframe: 22-38, 4.29 ERA, 1.463 WHIP, 101 ERA+, 1.69 SO/BB, 8.3 H/9. He did miss the 2004 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Back to our question.
2012 will likely not be duplicated by Rodney as a member of the Seattle Mariners, but he could still be worth the dough. In his two seasons in Tampa, he posted a fWAR of 2.3 in ’12 and 1.3 in ’13. As Fangraphs relates his value relate to that, it would be $10.3MM for ’12 and $6.4MM for ’13. That’s $16.7MM if value for 3.6 fWAR for an average of $4.64MM for 1 win. For Rodney to make the deal “break even”, he would have to own a fWAR barely over 3.0 total for the two seasons.
Seems realistic, but the Oliver projections are not kind to Rodney. Granted, these were done prior to this deal being announced, but over each of the next two seasons, Rodney is projected to post a WAR of 0.8 for 2014 and 0.7 for 2015. That 1.5 WAR would certainly not be considered a worthy return for $14MM. Obviously, this will be updated some time down the road as Rodney finally has a destination. He’s got a nice, pitcher-friendly ballpark to call home for the next two years.
A 2013 version of Rodney over the term of this deal won’t get to the level of “breaking even”, but it shouldn’t be that far off from that point. Considering Rodney will no longer be in the AL East, can call Safeco his new home, and have a couple of more stadiums within the AL West that are kind to pitchers, I can see this deal at least meeting its money.