This isn't the first time the Mariners have been connected to the closer market and Fernando Rodney, but it's the first time in the post-"nothing major" saga that they've decided to embark on. Tim Brown from Yahoo passes along that the Mariners are in on Fernando Rodney along with the Mets and Orioles, whatever "in" means. Rodney isn't likely to cost a ton of money after the 2/16 deal Grant Balfour signed, and even if he doesn't bounce back, there's a chance he'll be a quality reliever. Sometimes I have to remind myself that Fernando Rodney doesn't suck anymore. He clearly figured something out in Tampa Bay, and while his control is a mess again, he doesn't give up a lot of hits.
Despite the return to earth, Rodney's peripherals were still good last year, and a great deal better than they ever were before he ended up in Tampa Bay. His strikeout rate even went up from 2012, and while his walk woes returned, he kept the ball in the park. Even as a reliever, Rodney was worth 1.3 fWAR last year, and while Steamer and Oliver are less optimistic on his chances to repeat his recent success, he's still projected to be a quality reliever worth about a win. Even though his batted ball profile took a hit (far more line drives in 2013), his SIERA still looked solid.
The major thing that changed with Rodney in recent years was his shift on the rubber, as he moved all the way to the left side as part of his late-career emergence in Tampa Bay. Always a flamethrower, he's actually throwing harder than he ever has, averaging 96.5 mph on his heat in 2013. He's completely abolished the slider, and his only off-speed offering is his change-up, which was once again a plus pitch for him in 2013 after annihilating batters in 2012.
There's always the possibility that Rodney could fall apart and be the hard-throwing but ineffective reliever he always was before, but there's a good chance that he can take what he learned from Jim Hickey and sustain it going forward. The strikeout rate is encouraging, and even if the control doesn't come back, he's still shown to be an effective reliever. He doesn't have to unseat Farquhar as the closer, but he probably will - and having Farquhar in a relief ace role to pitch high leverage at-bats may help the team more anyways.
It isn't a starter and it isn't an outfielder, but it's something. Last year's bullpen massively underperformed their peripherals, Oliver Perez is gone, and nobody knows what Tom Wilhelmsen is going to be. The Mariners need more good players, and Fernando Rodney is one of them, probably. Either way, it's encouraging to hear that the Mariners are in on a player who definitely isn't going to be a scrap heap acquisition. Whether or not they add him will certainly depend on the price. I wouldn't have a problem going 1/6 or 2/11 for Fernando Rodney, and that might be all he gets at this stage of the game with all the other attractive closer options gone. He's a good bet for a win of value, and could help stabilize a bullpen that currently appears to be in shambles.
Plus, he is a noted archery enthusiast, though Jose Molina may be helping him move the bullseye.