January 14th, 2009

Thames also agrees to one-year deal

In addition to Fernando Rodney, the Tigers avoided arbitration with
outfielder Marcus Thames by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal. Terms
were not immediately disclosed.
He’ll make $2,275,000. Thames is projected to return as
Detroit’s fourth outfielder after batting .245 with 25 home runs and 56
RBIs over just 316 at-bats.

Tigers avoid arbitration with Rodney

While the Tigers remain on the lookout for a closer this offseason,
they have avoided arbitration with their incumbent. Fernando Rodney and
the club agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year contract worth $2.7
million, according to two industry sources.

Rodney, who will
turn 32 years old in March, saved 13 games this year to go with an 0-6
record and a 4.91 ERA. He became Detroit’s closer near the end of July,
while Todd Jones battled shoulder problems, and remained in the role
for the better part of the final two months.

As of now, he
remains Detroit’s in-house option for the job. The Tigers have
maintained contact with free-agent relievers on the market with veteran
closing experience, including Jason Isringhausen and Brandon Lyon, but
have yet to make a signing. Even if the Tigers add someone with closing
experience, however, Rodney could get some share of opportunities. At
the very least, he would fill a setup role in the eighth inning.

Rodney will be eligible for free agency at season’s end. That could end up a big motivation for him