The Seattle Mariners shored up the back end of their bullpen Thursday afternoon by reaching a two-year agreement with veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney for $14 million.
The deal seemed increasingly likely in recent weeks as the Mariners pushed hard to acquire a proven closer. It was first reported on Twitter by Jonah Keri of Grantland.com.
There was no confirmation from club officials, but The News Tribune and other media outlets soon verified the report. That suggests Rodney has not yet
completed a routine physical.
The Mariners have no openings on their 40-man roster, which means they must make a corresponding move to accommodate Rodney when the deal becomes official.
Rodney, 36, spent the past two seasons as the closer at Tampa Bay, where he converted 85 of 95 save opportunities while compiling a 1.91 earned-run average in 144 games.
The Mariners targeted a veteran reliever after suffering 13 walkoff losses in 2013. General manager Jack Zduriencik confirmed last week that he still hoped to “add another bullpen arm.”
Rodney is the latest addition in an offseason roster overhaul after the Mariners’ fourth consecutive losing season (71-91) and eighth in 10 years.
The club previously bolstered a run-starved attack by signing free agents Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Willie Bloomquist, and acquiring Logan Morrison from the Miami Marlins.
The Mariners also remain linked to free agent Nelson Cruz, who could fill their pressing need for a right-handed power hitter.
“It would be good to get one,” Zduriencik admitted.
The Rodney deal came one week before the club’s pitchers and catchers hold their first spring workout in Peoria, Ariz. It includes performance bonuses, tied to games finished, that can add another $1 million.
Signing Rodney shifts Danny Farquhar back to a setup role. Farquhar was 16-for-18 in save opportunities over the final two months last season after replacing an ineffective Tom Wilhelmsen as closer.
Rodney is an 11-year veteran who spent much of his career as a setup reliever with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels before becoming the Rays’ closer in 2012. He is 29-44 with a 3.70 ERA in 563 career games.