Fernando Rodney’s deal with the devil has expired

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Fernando Rodney had one of the greatest reliever seasons in baseball history last year, breaking Dennis Eckersley’s all-time ERA record by saving 48 games with a 0.60 ERA in 74.2 innings for the Rays.

He allowed opponents to hit .167, struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings, and issued just 15 walks in 74.2 frames after a career filled with control problems.

Rodney hasn’t quite turned completely back into a pumpkin this season because he’s still holding opponents to a .211 batting average and has racked up 23 strikeouts in 15.1 innings, but his control has abandoned the 36-year-old right-hander and he’s coughing up runs in bunches.

In fact, after another ugly outing last night Rodney has already matched his 2012 totals for walks allowed (15) and runs allowed (9), and he’s nearly doubled his 2012 total for earned runs allowed (9 vs. 5). He’s gone from a 0.60 ERA in 74.2 innings to a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings, blowing three saves and taking two losses in his 16 appearances.

Just a friendly reminder that all deals with the devil expire after one season.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.