Fernando Rodney is a unique case. Sure, he’s pretty well-removed from his days of being a top 10 closer. He’s not someone who should be relied upon that heavily.
And yet that’s precisely what Dave Martinez did when the Nationals signed him to a minor-league contract in June and purchased him from AAA Fresno shortly thereafter.
This 42-year-old virtual has-been went from a cast-aside arm with the Oakland A’s to an everyday Fernando Rodney Experience — FRE, as it became affectionately known.
Here’s the thing: As destructive as that endeavor may sound, for the better part of two-plus months, it worked. Through the dog days of summer, Rodney was often used two or three days in a row — he even had three one-inning appearances in a two-day span in July — and generally got through it unscathed. Contrary to popular opinion — or the convenient one for the sake of pushing a false narrative about his quality — he was one of the saviors of the Nationals’ bullpen.
Until he wasn’t. I have documented his overuse, and the top bullpen arms’ exhaustion at large. Unsurprisingly — remember how old he is? — his effectively wild command lost its effectiveness, and he eventually had to be avoided entirely.
So what now? Does Rodney have another season in him, or did Davey use up every last drop? Does Rodney even want to pitch anymore? He finally won a World Series, so what does he have to prove?
I have no answers. All I can say is that whatever decision he makes will be done with flare.