Leyland on Rodney: “We were quietly interested”
The Tigers weren’t linked to many relief candidates besides Octavio Dotel when they were in the market to bolster their bullpen this past offseason. Luis Ayala had come up as a name, but supposedly nothing was close. Another name that apparently came up: Fernando Rodney.
Yes, that Fernando Rodney.
“He’s a guy that, actually, I think we were quietly interested in, but he didn’t sign,” manager Jim Leyland offered up during his pregame session with reporters Thursday at Comerica Park.
Rodney said he wasn’t aware of any interest on the Tigers’ part, so it was very quiet. The only interest Rodney knew about besides the Rays, he said, was early interest from the Twins and Cardinals. He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Rays in January for the chance to win.
Rodney’s save Wednesday after the Rays’ ninth-inning comeback was his first at Comerica Park since he left as a free agent after the 2009 season. He signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Angels that winter. The Tigers were not believed to be in serious pursuit at that point, supposedly training any efforts on retaining Brandon Lyon before he signed a three-year deal with the Astros.
The Tigers agreed to terms with Dotel on a one-year deal with an option at the winter meetings in December. Rodney signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Rays in early January to set up for former Tigers teammate Kyle Farnsworth.
“Next year, too, I’m a free agent,” Rodney said. “You never know. This is my first team to give me the opportunity to play baseball. You never say no. Just keep playing.”