Both Antonio Bastardo and Fernando Rodney are off the free agency market, with the New York Mets and San Diego Padres taking care of that need and leaving very few relief pitchers that warrant some sort of interest.
Both players have had a lot of offers coming their way recently. Bastardo was reportedly looking for a three-year deal. The Mets were reportedly only signing players on one-year deals. Well, they met somewhere in the middle, as Bastardo got a two-year, $12 million contract, which means his annual salary gets doubled compared to what he made last season on the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’ll probably be used as a setup man alongside Addison Reed and Jenrry Mejia, bridging the innings between their excellent rotation and the closer, Jeurys Familia.
The left hander does incredibly well against left handed batters, holding them to .167/.273/.295 over the last three seasons, while posting a 3.18 ERA, 1.195 WHIP and averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He does quite well against righties too, holding them to 204/.310/.314. The Mets waited and got off nicely with one year less than most deals for the better relief pitchers in this offseason, beating out the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Pirates, all looking to sign Bastardo.
The Padres spent less money on the flamboyant yet risky Fernando Rodney, who is funny, exciting, entertaining and inconsistent as can be. It’s a one year deal with an option on a second one. He’s making $2 million in 2016 although with incentives it can go up to $5 million, and the 2017 option price tag will be the $2 million plus whatever Rodney, who will turn 39 in March, will make in incentives during 2016.
In 2012 and 2014 Rodney had incredible seasons as the closer for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners, twice picking up 48 saves and twice making the All-Star. He had an incredible 0.60 ERA in 2012, but all that good impression was erased during his awful run with the Mariners in 2015, posting a 5.68 ERA and blowing saves left and right. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he was fantastic, no longer in the closer role, posting an 0.75 ERA while striking out 11.3 batters per nine innings.
Thanks to that he’s a closer again, for a Padres team that might not offer him too many opportunities to step up on the mound with the chance to save the game. Now that both he and Bastardo are off the boards, this leaves Neal Cotts, Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton as the best players left on the free agency market playing as relief pitchers.