Should the Twins be worried about Fernando Rodney?
MINNEAPOLIS — Twins closer Fernando Rodney is due to appear next weekend at TwinsFest. Considering his shaky performance in the Dominican Winter League, he must be looking forward to the warm embrace of his new fan base.
Wednesday, Jan., 10, marked Rodney's fourth outing for Escogido in the round-robin playoffs. Just one of those appearances has been scoreless, leaving Rodney with a 15.00 earned-run average, six walks and four hits allowed through three innings.
Rodney, who turns 41 in March, has recorded just one strikeout, that coming on Dec. 28 in his season debut for Escogido. That same outing saw Abiatal Avelino, the 22-year-old shortstop prospect for the New York Yankees, homer off Rodney.
Four of Rodney's walks came in a single outing on Jan. 4 against Aguilas, when he threw just four of 16 pitches for strikes and failed to retire any of the five batters he faced. Rodney also threw a wild pitch.
Overall Rodney has thrown just 30 of his 65 pitches (46.2 percent) for strikes. The Twins signed him on Dec. 15 with a one-year, $4.5 million guarantee that includes up to $1.5 million in bonuses and a club option for 2019.
"Scouts made strong recommendations about him," Twins general manager Thad Levine said Thursday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. "We saw him as a very intriguing pursuit. I think we may have been just a little ahead of the market in that pursuit."
This is only the second time since 2012 that Rodney has opted to pitch winter ball in his home country. After the 2016 season he posted a 10.80 ERA and walked three in two outings, but still managed to nail down 39 saves to help the Arizona Diamondbacks reach the postseason.
"I think he had ultimately a lot of options when it came down to it, but I wonder if we were one of the first teams that really made him a very top priority," Levine said. "There are times at which these guys truly do want to be courted and feel like they have a chance to be part of something special and that they're a huge key of that. We treated Rodney exactly that way."
Reliever Ryan Pressly and outfielder Robbie Grossman were among four Twins to avoid arbitration in advance of Friday's noon deadline to exchange figures, but right-hander Kyle Gibson was unable to join them.
According to people with direct knowledge, Grossman agreed at $2 million and Pressly at $1.6 million for this season. Pressly, 29, struggled to a 4.70 ERA in 57 outings last season but still earned a 36-percent raise over the $1.175 million he made in 2017.
Grossman, 28, fell 17 percent shy of his projected $2.4 million haul via MLB Trade Rumors but still nearly quadrupled his pay in his first pass through arbitration.
Also settling on Friday morning, according to people with direct knowledge, were super utility man Ehire Adrianza ($1 million) and rehabbing right-hander Trevor May ($650,000). May missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery.
Not including a $700,000 buyout on Glen Perkins' 2018 option, the Twins have 13 players signed for a combined $85.2 million this season.
Their Opening Day payroll projects right around $98 million.
Gibson, 30, was demoted to Triple-A twice while pitching to a 5.07 earned run average for the second straight season. He did rank second on the team with 29 starts and 158 innings while earning $2.9 million.
Since the start of 2014, Gibson ranks 25th in the majors with 117 starts and 34th with 679⅓ innings. His 4.56 ERA, however, ranks 144th out of 177 qualifying pitchers and his nine-inning strikeout rate of 6.32 ranks 149th.
Infielder Eduardo Escobar settled on Thursday night at $4.85 million.
The Twins haven't gone through with an arbitration case since losing in back-to-back years to right-hander Kyle Lohse (2005-06) and his agent, Scott Boras. The differences in those cases were $250,000 and $550,000, respectively.
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