The Seattle Mariners have agreed to terms with Fernando Rodney and if I’m being honest with you, I don’t like this move as a fantasy player. Actually, if I’m being completely honest with you, I hate it.
So, what makes me feel this way? Quite simply, the depth — or at least potential depth — of the closer position just got a little weaker.
Both MLB Depth Charts and Matt Snyder of CBS Sports have Rodney slated to be the Mariners closer and as a fantasy player, I’d much rather take my chances on Danny Farquhar as a closer. I’ll certainly grant that his 2013 numbers left a little to be desired. At 27, Farquhar’s potential is certainly more untapped than Rodney but if we look at his 2013 splits and break his season down a bit more, there seems to be a higher ceiling that he may be on the verge of reaching, or at least nearing.
Danny Farquhar: 2013
I certainly understand that the Mariners made a lot of moves this off-season and that they may want a bit more of a known quantity at the closer position. But is Fernando Rodney that guy?
It’s not that Rodney is terrible or anything, he’s just a soon-to-be-37-year-old closer with what I’d call a limited ceiling, and I say that completely aware of what he did in 2012. Even in the world of sports, 2012 is not that long ago.
The problem is that it stands out way too much when looking at both of the surrounding seasons, and his overall career numbers.
You may make a case that 2011 stands out a bit too much on the bad side. That’s a fair argument, but it doesn’t stand out anywhere near as much as 2012 does on the good side. With Rodney as the closer, you’re likely getting value from an above average K-rate (for a closer), and then whatever saves he’d get. The ERA is pretty likely to fall somewhere in the 3.50-4.00 range, while the WHIP will probably fall somewhere between 1.30 and 1.40.
Farquhar’s age and the way he continued to improve throughout his first real MLB season tells me that he’s far more worth the gamble. Let’s put it this way, if Rodney had signed somewhere else as the closer and someone asked me which of the two would more likely be a dominant pitcher (fantasy and real), I’d say Farquhar in a second. I just don’t think we’ll ever see anything close to 2012 from Rodney again.
Granted, Rodney’s bust season may not be as bad as Farquhar’s, but the numbers tell me that they’re not that far apart there. In other words, the gap between their ceilings is greater in Farquhar’s favor than the gap between their floors is in Rodney’s.
Since both of these guys are in the bottom half of a very deep pool of closers and will be taken in the later rounds, it makes a lot more sense to want the guy with the higher ceiling to get the closer’s job. As good as Rodney was in 2012, his ceiling is just not that high.
Monitor this situation closely in Spring Training. If Rodney is struggling, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Danny Farquhar regain the closer’s job at some point in the first half of the season. If he’s showing well in Spring Training, Farquhar may be a good late-round draft and stash guy, or even someone with MRI value.