UPDATE: It’s a done deal.
TUESDAY, 11:56 PM: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times hears that while a deal is not done yet, something is definitely in the works. It could be made official in the next day or two.
TUESDAY, 11:30 PM: Not sure how everyone missed this given how we’ve been dying for any baseball news lately, but Fernando Rodney told the Associated Press last week (link in Spanish) that he has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rays.
Rodney said that the deal is worth around $2 million and that he’ll get a chance to compete for the closer role. Given that he posted a 4.50 ERA and a 26/28 K/BB ratio (!) over 32 innings with the Angels last season, it’s pretty hard to believe the Rays would guarantee him that salary. No official confirmation from the club yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Rodney, who turns 35 in March, has a 4.29 ERA and 87 career saves over parts of nine seasons in the majors. His career walk rate of 4.9 BB/9 is ninth-highest among all pitchers (with at least 400 innings pitched) since he made his major-league debut with the Tigers in 2002.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.
First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.
More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:
The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.