A look at the American League saves leaderboard reveals some surprising names - David Aardsma with 32, Fernando Rodney with 30, and Andrew Bailey with 21.
Rodney, 33 this March, won the Tigers' closer job over Brandon Lyon in Spring Training despite trade rumors, shoulder problems, and a 4.91 ERA in 2008. Along with those 30 saves this year, Rodney cut his ERA to 3.22 despite his typical shaky control. Couple the walks with Rodney's age and injury history, and he'll make for a risky signing after the season.
Nonetheless, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News sees Rodney getting two or three years at $8-10MM per on the free agent market. Rodney's current salary, $2.7MM, was decided prior to his success in the ninth inning. Henning believes Rodney will be priced out of the Tigers' range for 2010 and beyond. Last we checked Rodney projected as a Type B, but a good September could make him an A. It certainly makes sense for the Tigers to at least offer arbitration.
Will Rodney get Kerry Wood ($20.5MM over two years) or even Brian Fuentes ($17.5MM over two years) money this winter? He'll be joined on the free agent market by closers such as Trevor Hoffman, Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and perhaps Billy Wagner.