Results tagged ‘ Fernando Rodney ’

Verlander, Granderson, Rodney teammates again for All-Star Game

The last time Curtis Granderson played center field behind Justin Verlander, he came up with a game-saving diving catch in the eighth inning. Fernando Rodney had already relieved Verlander at that point, on his way to his last save of a Verlander start.

That was the last scheduled regular-season game of 2009, a  Tigers win that kept them alive for the one-game AL Central tiebreaker known as Game 163. Everyone knows how that story ended, and the dealing that happened afterwards — Granderson traded to New York, Rodney lost to free agency.

For one All-Star Game, they’ll all be teammates again, along with Miguel Cabrera. It wasn’t lost on Granderson, now a Yankees star.

“Justin’s obviously a great competitor,” Granderson said Monday. “He’s been a great teammate coming up. We made the team together in ’06, got a chance to be a part of a World Series together, and he’s continued just to blossom and grow and be one of the best pitchers in the game right now. And there’s no question why he’s the starter tomorrow.

“He’s dominant and he’s a guy that everyone talks about has the ability to throw a no-hitter every time he steps on the mound, and that’s a credit to him working hard and continuing to set the bar high.”

Verlander was a 19-game winner back then, a budding young arm still finding his full repertoire of pitches. He has found it in the two-plus years since Granderson became a Yankee.

“I would say, if anything, he’s found more ways to get you out,” Granderson said. “He used to trust, ‘Hey, I’m going to throw the fastball by you and I’m going to have a lot of success,’ but now he kind of messes with you a little bit.

“He knows he’s got the fastball. He’s got different fastballs now, some that are 91-93 [mph] and some that are 98-99. And any one can come out at any time. He’s got the changeup working now. He’s got the big curveball that he’s always had. And he can do it at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lefty or a righty, if you’ve had some hits off of him or if you haven’t, he’s got a good chance to get you out every time you step out there.”

Granderson, too, has blossomed, from one of the game’s great young center fielders into an All-Star starter and one of the most recognizable Yankees outside of the core group that has been there for years.

As for Rodney, that 2009 season was supposed to be his career year, a 37-save season that saw him blow only one save chance. He got the final four outs of that Verlander win, then tossed 48 pitches over three-plus innings two days later at Minnesota. At the very least, it was his payday season, drawing a two-year, $11 million contract offer from the Angels that winter. He recorded 17 saves over the course of that contract.

This year has been better, earning him his first All-Star selection. He’d still like one more chance to save a Verlander win.

“I’d like to be back in again to close behind Verlander,” Rodney said. “Whatever I have to be, I want to be the pitcher they go to.”

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.”

Tigers still looking at veteran relievers

Unless the Tigers go with an experimental 10-man bullpen, they’ll have more young relievers than they’ll likely have spots in their bullpen once the agreed-upon trade of Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson becomes official. But that apparently doesn’t rule out the Tigers dealing for a veteran closer.

Quite the opposite, the Tigers would like one, and they’re expanding their search after Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon turned down Detroit’s arbitration offers late Monday night. They remain interested in bringing one of them back, but they’re preparing as if both of them move on.

Whether it’s Lyon, Rodney or someone else, the Tigers are hoping to have a veteran reliever.

“It doesn’t have to be now,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “We didn’t sign Brandon Lyon [last winter] until late January, but ideally we’d like to have somebody [experienced] out there, yes.”

By adding potential future closer Daniel Schlereth from Arizona and lefty Phil Coke from the Yankees, Detroit further bolstered a group of young relievers that Dombrowski already praised for its potential depth. Ryan Perry was already expected to compete for a setup role next spring, while similar hard-throwing righties Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt could crack the big leagues later in the season after getting more seasoning at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Add in lefty Fu-Te Ni, still-young Zach Miner and a potentially healthy Joel Zumaya, and Detroit’s bullpen has the chance to be very deep, very soon. That doesn’t, however, mean that they’re going to take over the late innings completely quite yet.

When asked about an established closer on Monday, Dombrowski suggested the Tigers could go a different route. On Tuesday, Dombrowski confirmed they were talking with more veteran arms, as well as maintaining talks on Rodney and Lyon.

“Both of them were looking for multi-year deals,” Dombrowski said. “They made that clear. We continue to have interest in them, but I’m also sure that they want to explore what’s out there, and that’s what they’re doing. We continue to talk to them and are interested in them.”

Whether the Tigers would be willing to offer a multi-year deal just became an interesting question. A trade of Granderson and Jackson will open up payroll space, giving the Tigers some much-needed flexibility to address needs. However, it also gives Detroit yet another closing option for the very near future.

The rest of the market is an interesting mix of candidates, and the Tigers are exploring. A FOXSports.com report listed Detroit among clubs interested in free agent J.J. Putz, a trade market of the Tigers last year before the Mariners traded their former closer to the Mets. Any interest would be relatively new; Detroit hadn’t so much as talked with Putz’s agent as of last week.

Detroit also was reportedly among a handful of teams with early interest in former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.

“We did talk to a couple people, yes, once we knew that they were not accepting arbitration for sure,” Dombrowski said. “Now, we continue to have interest in [Rodney and Lyon], but we also have to start doing our homework. In case they go to other places, we have to be prepared.”

Polanco could've made a cash grab

Talked with Dave Dombrowski this afternoon about their decisions on arbitration to free agents, and his remarks echoed the sentiments that were out there. While Dombrowski isn’t bidding farewell to Polanco and plans to keep in touch with his agents, the Levinson brothers, he indicated there was a real chance — maybe more than a chance — that Polanco might have accepted an arbitration offer and gone to a hearing.

Good deal, right? The Tigers would get Polanco on a one-year contract.

Actually, it’s not that simple.

The risk, Dombrowski said, was that Polanco would go to a hearing and ask for more money than the Tigers would be comfortable doing. It sounds unlikely in this market until you consider long-term contracts last winter for other All-Star second basemen, such as Brian Roberts ($10 million per year) and Dustin Pedroia (6 years, $40.5 million, including $31 million over the final three seasons). They also could’ve used other free-agent infielders as a reference point.

No fault in doing so; I just wanted to use the term “cash grab” in a headline.

As it is, Polanco instantly becomes a hotter commodity on the market now that teams don’t have to give up a first- or second-round Draft pick for him.

The relievers, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, were a different story. Dombrowski essentially confirmed what others such as agent Barry Meister have suggested, that Rodney and Lyon are looking for multi-year deals and stand a decent chance to get them.

“I would be very surprised if either of them accepted [arbitration],” Dombrowski said.

That said, interestingly, Dombrowski didn’t write off Detroit’s chances of re-signing them, either. He’ll keep in touch with their agents — Rodney is also a Levinson client — and see where it goes. Even as Meister fully expects to get a multi-year deal for Lyon, he said there’s mutual interest from the two parties in re-signing.

Could the Tigers be open to a multi-year contract to keep a reliever? I don’t think you can write that off quite yet. But they might have to clear some payroll space to do it.

Rodney, Lyon offered arbitration, Rodney not

The Tigers decided to offer arbitration to Type B free agent relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, but not to Type A free agent Placido Polanco.

The announcement ahead of Tuesday night’s midnight ET deadline sets the stage for the Tigers to receive compensation picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft if Rodney and/or Lyon sign elsewhere, but nothing in exchange for Polanco.

Though the Tigers had to be tempted by the potential for two compensation picks, there was a logical chance Polanco would have considered arbitration if offered. While a multi-year deal is obviously a huge appeal for the 34-year-old second baseman, arbitration would’ve almost surely hurt his value on the market. Any other team would’ve had to give up a first- or second-round Draft pick to sign him, and that would’ve slowed the market on him. The other pick would’ve been sandwiched between the first and second rounds.

Moreover, the one-year salary Polanco could’ve earned in arbitration could have been very tempting. Polanco earned $4.6 million in each of his four full seasons in Detroit as part of an extension he signed in 2005, but contracts signed last offseason for such All-Star second basemen as Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and Baltimore’s Brian Roberts have come at much larger salaries.

The Tigers are prepared to promote Scott Sizemore, their Minor League Player of the Year, to second base. Sizemore underwent surgery in October after breaking his ankle while playing in the Arizona Fall League, but he’s projected to be ready for the start of Spring Training. The Tigers are still free to negotiate with Polanco’s representatives and try to re-sign him.

The risk is far less on Lyon and Rodney, since any other team that signs them won’t have to give up a draft pick. The compensation picks on them would come at the end of the second round.

Both Rodney and Lyon are looking for multi-year deals and attracting interest along those lines, even in a relief market that can be unpredictable.

Rodney and Lyon have six days to accept or reject arbitration. Given their situations, they’ll likely to reject the offers. That won’t necessarily close off the Tigers’ interest, but it sets the challenge of multi-year offers, something that could require the Tigers to do some of their much-rumored maneuvering to free up payroll.

Lyon’s agent, Barry Meister, indicated he has stayed in touch with the Tigers, though talks won’t likely progress until teams and agents gather in Indianapolis next week for baseball’s Winter Meetings.

“We’ve each expressed mutual interest,” Meister said. “Well have a chance to sit down with them and talk about him at the Winter Meetings.”

Detroit’s last compensation pick was a first-round sandwich selection for reliever Jamie Walker, who signed quickly with the Orioles following the 2006 season before the Tigers had to decide on arbitration.

Detroit’s other three free agents this offseason — Adam Everett, Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn — were not offered arbitration. They didn’t qualify as Type A or B free agents, so they wouldn’t have brought any compensation picks in return

My guesses on arbitration

Everyone else seems to be playing the guessing game on which free agents the Tigers will offer arbitration, so I figure I might as well chip in with my two cents before the news comes out later today. As much of a financial hit as it could be for the Tigers if Placido Polanco accepted arbitration, I’m just not sure that it’s enough to justify passing up on a sandwich pick in next year’s draft and possibly a first-rounder if Polanco signs elsewhere. Polanco is at the point where multi-year security looks better than a one-year deal, and I’m not sure his chances at that become much clearer in six days. If there’s a concerted drive for the Tigers to bring in more young talent, this might be the simplest way they can do it this winter, so long as they believe Polanco wouldn’t accept the offer. But then, that’s the big question, isn’t it? In the end, it might still be too much of a risk.

Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney carry much less risk, since any team that signs them wouldn’t have to give up a pick. It’s just a supplemental pick or two after the second round in this case. And if you believe that multi-year contracts are big for both of them, there’s good reason to believe they wouldn’t want it. Everything Lyon’s agent, Barry Meister, has said indicates his client will get a multi-year contract. Rodney should, too, but in his case, he’s hitting free agency off one big year. If he were to accept arbitration off a 37-save season, the payout could be huge. I like Lyon’s chances of being offered arbitration more than that of Rodney, but I’m not sure the Tigers still wouldn’t offer it to Rodney.

In the end, the Tigers might offer Lyon and Rodney, but pass on Polanco. Again, just my opinion. We’ll see what happens.

Yes, there's still free agency for Tigers

While trade rumors build around the Tigers regarding players they control, their interest in their own free agents hasn’t gone away, at least not for most of them.

The Tigers have had contact with the agents for relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, second baseman Placido Polanco and shortstop Adam Everett, but those discussions were believed to be preliminary ahead of follow-up talks later.

Meanwhile, president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed to Booth Newspapers that they will not be pursuing free agents Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff, both late-season trade acquisitions for the Tigers this past summer who struggled down the stretch.

Neither was expected to be a Tigers target. Washburn had told reporters last week that he hadn’t heard from the Tigers other than to check on his knee after surgery.

“We called both Jarrod and Aubrey this week and told them we will not be pursuing them,” Dombrowski told Booth Newspapers. “We wished them well.”

Dombrowski said the team had not made such calls to its other four free agents.

The Tigers acquired Washburn from Seattle at the nonwaiver trade deadline July 31, but knee problems hampered him in August and September until the Tigers shut him down for the final couple weeks. He posted a 1-3 record and 7.33 ERA in eight Tigers starts, compared with an 8-6 record and 2.64 ERA in 20 starts for the Mariners.

Huff batted .189 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 40 games for the Tigers after coming over from Baltimore in a mid-August trade. Detroit’s plans to rotate players between designated hitter and the outfield, including Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen, essentially sealed Huff’s departure.

The Tigers hold exclusive negotiating rights on their free agents for seven more days. Other teams can talk to them now, and all four have drawn interest, but those teams can’t make contract offers or talk contract terms until next Friday.

By then, the Tigers should have a better idea about any trade talks, where they may lead, and what holes any deals could fill.

All four are expected to seek multi-year contracts, according to industry sources, but that’s no surprise. The Tigers didn’t sign any free agent or arbitration-eligible player to a multi-year contract last year, and aside from possibly Justin Verlander, it remains to be seen whether they would do so now.

Prospect Scott Sizemore has been deemed ready for the big leagues, while relievers Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt could conceivably be ready within a year. Shortstop is a different situation, and barring a trade acquisition, there’s expected to be mutual interest for Everett to return.

Five Tigers file for free agency

As the veteran Tigers scribe Jim Hawkins likes to say, no sense waiting (yes, I recycled that line from my Twitter account, @beckjason). Five Tigers — Adam Everett, Aubrey Huff, Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney and Jarrod Washburn — filed for free agency Thursday, the first day players could do so. The only Tiger eligible for free agency who didn’t file Thursday was Brandon Lyon, and that’s more of a formality. His agent and the Tigers haven’t talked yet. Look for a free-agent roundup on the site tonight.

The Tigers have exclusive negotiating rights with their free agents through Thursday, Nov. 20. While those players can talk with other teams, they technically can’t talk contract terms or exchange offers, though agents seem to get around the contract terms part. Starting Nov. 21, it’s a free-for-all.

Also, the Elias rankings that determine compensation for free agents came out today. Polanco qualified for Type A status, meaning the Tigers would receive at least a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of next year’s draft, and possibly a first-round pick as well, if they offer him arbitration and he signs somewhere else. That leaves the Tigers with a decision to make whether they offer him arbitration, and I’m not sure the Tigers won’t take a chance and offer it. After all, if he accepts it, the Tigers have him for one year.

Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon both qualified for Type B status. If the Tigers offered them arbitration, they’d get a draft pick after the second round if they signed elsewhere.

Rodney wanted one more inning

Before anyone second-guesses Jim Leyland on his decision to send closer Fernando Rodney back out for the 12th inning after he entered for the final two outs of the ninth, keep this in mind: Rodney called it.

He told his manager he wanted to go back out.

“He said he wanted one more,” manager Jim Leyland said, “so I had to give it to him. He’s a horse. I don’t have any problem with that.”

Rodney was at 36 pitches entering the 12th, already one off his season high. But it was also a must-win situation, and he felt like he had it in his arm.

“I’ve never seen something like that,” Rodney said of that game. “I feel ready to go. I say one more.”

Rodney’s 48th and final pitch hit 95 mph.

Rodney suspension reduced to two games

Fernando Rodney will serve a two-game suspension starting tonight after his appeal was heard by phone today.

Rodney’s suspension was originally three games for throwing a ball that landed in the press box at Tropicana Field Sept. 4. Though he got a game taken off of that, his fine remains at $3,000.

Rodney can work out with the team before the game and throw on the side, but he can’t be in the dugout or the clubhouse once the game starts. Most likely, he’ll be watching the games from one of the suites that his teammates have.

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