5:20pm: MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweets that performance bonuses met by Rodney in 2018 actually increased the value of his option to $5.25MM.
5:09pm: The Athletics announced that they’ve exercised their club option on right-hander Fernando Rodney. Rodney, who will turn 42 during Spring Training, will earn a $4.25MM base salary next season under the contract.
The veteran Rodney joined the Athletics in an August waiver trade that sent right-handed pitching prospect Dakota Chalmers to the Twins. He’d opened the season as the closer in Minnesota but served as a setup man to breakout closer Blake Treinen in Oakland, enjoying relative success in both settings (though he did pitch better with the Twins than with the A’s). In all, Rodney turned in a 3.36 ERA with 9.8 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings between the two clubs.
Despite his age, Rodney hasn’t shown much in the way of obvious signs of decline. His average fastball still checked in at a solid 94.2 mph in 2018, while his 11.1 percent swinging-strike rate and 29.2 percent chase rate on out-of-zone pitches were both within striking distance of league average (slightly above average in terms of swinging-strike rate and slightly below on his chase rate). Opponents did up their hard-contact rate against Rodney by a hefty five percent, thanks largely to a notable spike with the A’s.
Still, Rodney continued to generate results, and his modest price tag made the decision a fairly easy one — especially when considering the continually rising prices of bullpen help in free agency. He’ll return to the A’s alongside Treinen, Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Buchter as part of a quality group of late-inning options for recently extended skipper Bob Melvin.