On June 30th, the Marlins made a statement by trading for 39 year-old reliever Fernando Rodney. It was a one-for-one trade which involved sending minor league starter Chris Paddack to San Diego, but Miami did not hesitate when it came to obtaining one of the best relief arms available at the time.
Rodney was practically already an All-Star before coming to Miami. Over 28.2 innings for the Padres, he pitched to a 0.31 ERA while striking out 10.4 batters per nine innings as the team’s closer. With A.J. Ramos already on the roster, Rodney would serve as the set-up man in what was shaping up to be one of the better bullpens in the league.
However, it would not take long for his 2016 season to turn from dominant to average, and then dreadful (for the Marlins, at least). It took only four innings in a Marlins jersey for Rodney to quadruple the number of earned runs he had allowed on the season, and his woes did not end there.
While a 4.50 and 3.38 ERA in July and August, respectively, were not awful, the Marlins did not trade for league-average production, and Rodney’s presence in the bullpen became more often a hindrance than a help. He seemed to wear down over the course of the season, and his September numbers (15 earned runs allowed in 8.1 innings) were one of the reasons why the Marlins were eliminated from the playoffs in the final week of the season.
It became clear over the last few months of the 2016 campaign that Fernando Rodney, an upcoming free agent, was not part of Miami’s long-term plans. Rodney has since signed with the Diamondbacks for 2017.
In short, the trade for Fernando Rodney did not work out for the Marlins. They traded away a promising young starter for three months of an aging and, on the whole, ineffective bullpen arm. They tried to improve and compete as soon as possible, though, and that drive and desire to win cannot be taken away from the organization.
Chris Paddack, by the way, has since undergone Tommy John surgery, so his future is now uncertain. However, he is a pitcher to look out for. Furthermore, in hindsight, the Marlins would have been better off with Paddack, who posted a 0.85 ERA over nine Class-A starts this past year in their system, than Rodney.
The Marlins swung and missed with Rodney, and they will likely want to forget the trade in a hurry.