LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year contract, bringing an experienced, three-time All-Star closer to a bullpen in need of a ninth-inning specialist.
The deal was reached on Thursday during Major League Baseball’s winter meetings, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
Rodney turns 41 on March 18 and will be in his 16th major league season. Well-known for firing an imaginary arrow to celebrate the final out of wins , he had 39 saves in 45 chances this year for Arizona. He was 5-4 with a 4.23 ERA, striking out 65 and walking 26 in 55 1/3 innings.
For his career, Rodney is 44-63 with 300 saves in 828 relief appearances for Detroit (2002-03 and 2005-09), the Los Angeles Angels (2010-11), Tampa Bay (2012-13), Seattle (2014-15), the Chicago Cubs (2015), San Diego (2016), Miami (2016) and the Diamondbacks last year.
Matt Belisle closed for the Twins over the final two months of last season, after Brandon Kintzler was traded to Washington on July 31. Belisle became a free agent, and the returning in-house candidates for the back of the bullpen are all young and relatively unproven, with Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger, John Curtiss and Alan Busenitz among them.
The Twins also selected right-handed pitcher Tyler Kinley from the Miami Marlins on Thursday in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. The 26-year-old posted a 3.54 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings combined between Class A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.
Kinley, a 16th-round draft pick in 2013, is the ninth player the Twins have taken in the last 13 editions of the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. Last year, right-handed Justin Haley made 10 relief appearances for the Twins before being returned to the Boston Red Sox organization in July. Teams acquiring a Rule 5 player must keep him on the major league 25-man roster all season or offer him back to his original club.