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New York Yankees Could End up Signing Tampa Bay Rays Closer Fernando Rodney as Insurance: Report

February 4th, 2014 at 8:59 AM
By Doug Rush

Last month, the New York Yankees anointed their longtime setup man David Robertson as the team's closer for the 2014 season, as he will have the unenviable task of trying to take over for Mariano Rivera.

However, there is a growing sense that some think that Robertson could end up not working out in the closer's role, just like in 2012 when they temporarily gave it to him, only to give it to Rafael Soriano during the time when Rivera tore his ACL and missed the majority of that year. So it would make sense for the Yankees to look into an insuance plan in case Robertson isn't ready.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that there is a growing feeling around baseball that the Yankees could end up being a team to sneak up and sign former Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney for that exact reason on not trusting Robertson for 2014.

"There’s a feeling that a team like the Yankees may pluck Rodney, or someone of his ilk, to ensure they have another closer in case Dave Robertson breaks down or isn’t up to the task."

If the Yankees were to get in on Rodney, it would likely have to be on a short-term deal considering he's 36-years-old, but he's coming off two successful seasons with the Rays so the interest for Rodney makes sense since he can pitch and pitch well in the American League East. In 2013, Rodney pitched to a 5-4 record with a 3.38 ERA with 37 saves for the American League Wild Card Champion Rays; the year before in 2012 was even better for him, as he had a 2-2 record with a 0.60 ERA and 48 saves for Tampa Bay and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young voting.

Currently, the teams who have been linked with the most interest to Rodney have been the Baltimore Orioles, who traded former closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland A's this past winter and had a deal with Grant Balfour, but backed out of it at the last second because they didn't like Balfour's medicals; and the New York Mets, who already have Bobby Parnell and just signed Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, but are still looking at closing options because their former closer, LaTroy Hawkins, left to sign with the Colorado Rockies.

While the Yankees said they were done spending big on the free agent market after landing Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million deal, the Yankees likely can afford the affordable Rodney, as he made a mere $2.5 million last season and since he's 36 going on 37-years-old in March, he may only cost a couple million per season; $3-4 million for one season, and that the Yankees could definitely afford. Plus, now that the Yankees are well above the $189 million mark for their payroll, they can make room for him for the bullpen and team him with Robertson for the closer duties.

Photo credit: Keith Allison / Foter / CC BY-SA

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Tags: Baseball, David Robertson, Fernando Rodney, Mariano Rivera, MLB, New York, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays

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