According to an ESPN.com report, the Philadelphia Phillies have expressed interest in signing free agent closer Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract at $12 million as a setup man and safety net to Brad Lidge.
Rodney, 32, converted on 37 saves in 38 opportunities last season with the Detroit Tigers while posing a 4.40 earned run average, the highest ERA among American League relievers with more than 20 save opportunities (Per ESPN).
The Los Angeles Angels are also closing in on a deal with Rodney, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Like the Phillies, the Angels see him as a setup guy who can pose as a fall back guy in case Brian Fuentes falters like he did in the second half last year.
Aside from his high ERA, Rodney performed well under pressure in 2009. In save situations, Rodney sported a 2.79 ERA while in nonsave situations he posted a 6.08 ERA. He held hitters to a .206 average with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Rodney owned a free agent closer market leading 1.40 groundball to fly ball ratio, which would work well with Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies are in need of late inning relievers, and Rodney fits the bill. Whether he's the best option for the Fightins, we don't know, but he could certainly help a bullpen that struggled to close games out in '09.
Other names linked to the Phils: John Smoltz, Bob Howry, Miguel Batista and Kiko Calero.
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