The Nationals will add right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney to their roster before Tuesday’s game against the Marlins, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reports. Rodney’s not on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, though they do have an opening after releasing fellow reliever Trevor Rosenthal on Sunday.
Rodney’s addition will be Washington’s latest attempt to repair what has been a horrible bullpen in 2019. The Rosenthal signing didn’t work, leading the team to jettison him, nor has picking up Kyle Barraclough over the winter. Barraclough has been on the IL since June 16 with a forearm issue.
Including Rosenthal and Barraclough, the Nationals have shuffled threw 17 relievers this year. The group has combined for an unsightly 6.29 ERA, which helps explain the Nationals’ 37-40 record. It’s anyone’s guess whether Rodney will be able to help the team’s cause, though there’s little risk in trying from its perspective. Washington brought in the 42-year-old on a minor league contract three weeks ago. He then allowed five runs (four earned) with 11 strikeouts and nine walks in eight innings with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate in Fresno.
Rodney has been a solid major league reliever for most of his career, though the journeyman began so poorly this season that the low-budget Athletics paid him to go away. Oakland had to pay $3.53MM to part with Rodney, who logged a 9.42 ERA/5.55 FIP with 8.79 K/9 and 7.53 BB/9 in 14 1/3 innings. Rodney’s just a year removed from recording a 3.36 ERA/4.03 FIP with 9.79 K/9, 4.48 BB/9 and a 44.4 percent groundball rate in 64 1/3 frames, though. The Nationals, who haven’t found capable bridges to closer Sean Doolittle this year, would sign up for that type of production.