The Oakland A’s exercised their 2019 club option on relief pitcher Fernando Rodney, the team announced Wednesday. The right-hander is now officially under contract for next season.
The value of the option is listed at $4.25 million, which is the same base salary Rodney received this past summer. However, insider Jane Lee says it will actually cost $5.25 million, as the 41-year-old satisfied some performance bonuses in 2018.
The A’s acquired Rodney in early August, as part of a larger plan to stack their bullpen after their starting rotation fell apart. He had served as the Twins closer for most of the year (25-of-31 in saves), but in Oakland he generally pitched in the 7th and 8th innings in a setup role. He began his green and gold career with 11 straight scoreless innings, but in September he wilted and allowed nine runs and 10 walks in 9⅔ innings. In terms of holding leads for the A’s, he recorded seven holds while blowing just one chance.
Rodney, 2018 MLB: 3.09 ERA, 64⅓ ip, 70 Ks, 32 BB, 7 HR, 4.03 FIP
Rodney, 2018 OAK: 3.92 ERA, 20⅔ ip, 20 Ks, 13 BB, 2 HR, 4.52 FIP
Unfortunately, the most recent memory of Rodney is a painful one. He pitched in the Wild Card Game against the Yankees, entering in the 6th with Oakland down 2-0. He faced two batters and allowed doubles to both of them, although the first was a matter of pure luck rather than strong contact. After uncorking a wild pitch to the next batter he was pulled mid-at-bat, and ultimately both of his runners scored in a disastrous four-run frame that more or less wrapped up the game for New York.
Despite that forgettable performance, though, holding on to Rodney still makes a lot of sense. The A’s are already losing setup man Jeurys Familia to free agency, and Rodney provides an experienced late-inning arm with an upper-90s fastball on essentially a small one-year deal. Even if you aren’t a fan of the work he did last season, it would be tough to find a better overall value than this relatively cheap, short-term outlay.
Other top bullpen names still under team control include closer Blake Treinen, setup man Lou Trivino, lefty Ryan Buchter, versatile Yusmeiro Petit, opener Liam Hendriks, homer specialist Emilio Pagan, and up-and-comer J.B. Wendelken, among others.
As things stand now, the team’s payroll is somewhere in the $70-76 million range, before re-signing any of their free agents or making any other moves. That’s including arbitration estimates, but it could change if any of the eligible players are non-tendered.
Welcome back, Fernando!