Fernando Rodney (born March 18, 1977) is a Dominican–American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). He debuted in MLB in 2002, and joined the 300 save club in 2017. In the 2019 season, following Ichiro Suzuki's retirement, Rodney became the oldest active player in Major League Baseball.
Rodney with the San Diego Padres
|Washington Nationals – No. 56|
|Born: March 18, 1977|
Samaná, Dominican Republic
|May 4, 2002, for the Detroit Tigers|
|MLB statistics |
(through July 12, 2019)
|Earned run average||3.78|
|Career highlights and awards|
Rodney is a three-time MLB All-Star. He won the MLB Delivery Man of the Year Award and American League Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2012. He throws a fastball between 96-99 mph (topping out at 100 mph), and a palmball in the low 80s. Rodney is the cousin of Alfredo Fígaro.
Rodney was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1997. He spent 1999–2003 in the minor leagues, moving from the Gulf Coast League to the International League. Rodney underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2003 season (which he spent in the minor leagues). He spent the 2004 season recovering and failed to make the Tigers opening day roster after 2005 spring training.
In 2005, Rodney became the Tigers closer after Troy Percival went down with an arm injury and his replacement, Kyle Farnsworth, was traded at mid-season to the Atlanta Braves. He was called up from Toledo after Farnsworth was traded, then settled into the closer role, earning nine saves in 39 total appearances, during which he racked up a 2.86 earned run average.
When the Tigers signed closer Todd Jones during the 2006 off-season, Rodney was reinserted into a middle relief/setup role. Rodney embraced the role as the Tigers proceeded to have their most successful season in recent history.
On July 3, 2006, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California, Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Rodney each threw multiple fastballs clocked in at over 100 mph, becoming the first time in MLB history that three pitchers on the same team had done so during one game. Rodney was part of the 2006 World Series roster—Rodney's first World Series appearance. The Tigers would end up losing the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Following the 2009 season, the Tigers offered arbitration to Rodney, which he rejected to pursue a multi-year deal. He was expected to be one of the more valuable closers on the market because as a "Type B" free agent, he would only cost teams a supplementary draft pick. His 1.40 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio ranked first that year among free-agent closers. Originally, the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies were rumored to be interested in signing Rodney. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were also reported to be in serious discussions with his agent.
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimEdit
On December 24, 2009, Rodney signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Although he closed for the Detroit Tigers in 2009, "Rodney is expected to share setup duties with Scot Shields and Kevin Jepsen and close on a fill-in basis when Brian Fuentes is down", the Los Angeles Times reported. Rodney stated, "I think I'm a different pitcher in save situations", referring to his lower ERA in save situations. He filled in April for Angels' closer Brian Fuentes when he went on the disabled list with a strained back.
Three days after the Angels traded Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins on August 27, 2010, it was officially announced that Rodney would be the new closer by manager Mike Scioscia. On April 5, 2011, Rodney was replaced by Jordan Walden as the full-time closer.
Tampa Bay RaysEdit
Rodney signed a $1.75 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2012 season. While Kyle Farnsworth was on the 60-day disabled list, Rodney performed in the closer role and maintained that role after Farnsworth returned from his injury. He was selected on July 6 to participate in his first ever All-Star Game. On that date, he had converted 24 of 25 save opportunities. At the end of the 2012 season, Rodney had converted 48 saves, the second most that season behind Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles. His 0.60 earned run average for the season was the lowest by a qualifying relief pitcher in major league history. On October 19, 2012, Rodney was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year and the Delivery Man of the Year During his time with the Rays, Rodney mimed shooting an arrow to high center field after converting a save as his celebration move.
On February 6, 2014, Rodney signed a 2-year, $14 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. After leading the American League in saves in the first half of the season, Rodney was named as a late addition to the AL All-Star team, taking the spot of David Price (who had pitched the Sunday before the game and thus could not pitch in the actual All-Star Game). Rodney finished the 2014 season with a franchise record 48 saves, beating Kazuhiro Sasaki with 45 saves.
The Mariners designated Rodney for assignment on August 22, 2015.
Rodney was traded to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations on August 27, 2015. He wore jersey #57, the first time in his career in which he wore a number other than 56. His Cubs debut came on August 28 at Dodger Stadium, where he already blew a save during the season. He pitched a scoreless eighth despite hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch.
San Diego PadresEdit
On February 4, 2016, Rodney signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the San Diego Padres. On April 11, 2016, Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his first save as a Padre in a win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
On December 9, 2016, Rodney signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rodney recorded his first win for the Diamondbacks on opening day and his first save in his next appearance on April 5, 2017. On June 7, Rodney became the 42nd pitcher all-time to finish 500 career games. On September 22, Rodney became the 28th pitcher all-time to record 300 career saves in a victory over the Miami Marlins.
On December 15, 2017, Rodney signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. The contract includes incentives that could increase the amount to $6 million, as well as a 2019 team option.
On August 9, 2018, the Twins traded Rodney to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league pitcher Dakota Chalmers. In 22 games for the A's, Rodney served as a setup man. He pitched to a 3.92 ERA in 20 2⁄3 innings.
On May 25, 2019, Rodney was designated for assignment by the Oakland A's. The A's released Rodney three days later. He had a 9.42 ERA in 17 appearances.
Rodney is known for wearing his cap tilted at an angle toward the left side of his head. He said in 2016 that it came about as a tribute to his father, who was a fisherman. Ulise Rodney also wore his cap tilted to the side because that was the side the sun hit his face. Rodney also said the tilted cap could be confusing for both hitters and baserunners. "The hitter looks for your eyes. It's like a dog. When you go somewhere, the first thing (a dog) looks at is your eyes and how you move."
"Bow and arrow" routineEdit
Rodney is also known for celebrating a save by pretending to shoot a bow and arrow toward the sky, usually at a point high over center field. He started the routine while with the Rays after saving a 1-0 ballgame on April 16, 2012 against their rival, the Boston Red Sox. It became his tradition after successfully saving each game that season, and soon involved his Rays teammates. The infielders would approach the mound to watch Rodney shoot the arrow, and first baseman Carlos Pena would ask him where it had gone, with both theatrically pointing off into the distance as if following its flight.
In a July 20, 2014 game against his former team, the Los Angeles Angels, Rodney did the routine after making the third out to end the eighth inning. However, this time he mimicked shooting the arrow at the Angels dugout. In the ninth inning after walking Mike Trout on five pitches, Angels player Albert Pujols hit a double, scoring Trout, and mimicked shooting a bow and arrow from second base towards Trout. Trout then "shot an arrow" back at Pujols. The Angels went on to win 6-5 with a walk-off hit by Grant Green the same inning. Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims began calling "shoot that arrow in the sky!" when Rodney recorded a save.
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