Is Fernando Rodney the veteran reliever the Brewers need?

The Milwaukee Brewers have added a few pieces to their bullpen, but could still use a veteran arm or two. Rumors are swirling around Fernando Rodney. Is there any chance the Brewers look to add Rodney on a one-year deal?

This off season went a lot quicker than the last two, and as such, there isn’t much available on the free agent market. The Brewers still need to find a bridge to closer Josh Hader, or at least locate a few veteran options that could work.

The team has already added Mike Morin and Justin Grimm on minor league deals with invites to Spring Training, but they’re depth options. A capable veteran like Fernando Rodney could serve as part of a bridge to Hader, and provide valuable playoff experience in October. Could the Brewers give Rodney a look?

How did Rodney perform in 2019?

Rodney split 2019 between the Oakland A’s and the Washington Nationals. He was a disaster in Oakland, and posted an ERA over 9.00 in 17 games before getting released.

Rodney managed to catch on with Washington, and helped them to a World Series win. Rodney logged 33 1/3 innings for the Nationals, and managed a 4.05 ERA. He struck out 35, walked 16, and was only tagged for three homers during his time in Washington.

He also worked six times during the post season, and surrendered two run in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Does Rodney still throw hard?

2020 will be Rodney’s age-43 season, but he averaged 93.9 MPH on his fastball and 86.7 MPH on his slider. He’s still got it, even if it isn’t 95 MPH+ any more.

What kind of deal will it take to land Rodney?

Rodney’s last four deals have been one-year contracts. Two came with option years, but only Oakland chose to keep him. It’s pretty clear that a one-year contract is what Rodney can expect to sign in the next few weeks.

Rodney earned $5.25 million in 2019. An extra year of age combined with his struggles in Oakland will probably keep Rodney’s 2020 earnings under what he got for 2019. The Brewers would likely have to offer a contract in the $3 million to $4 million range to get Rodney to sign.

Next: How does the Brewers' rotation stack up against their division rivals?

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The Brewers need a right-handed veteran to add depth to the bullpen and Rodney is about as ‘veteran’ as it gets. He doesn’t need to work in the ninth inning, and he’s capable enough against lefties to work full innings. The team should have enough room in the payroll to add Rodney for a few million dollars and still maintain their precious flexibility. This is a move that makes sense for the team, but the reluctance to spend may keep the Brewers from jumping back in to the market.

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