Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Padres are “closing in on a deal” with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney.
Rodney posted a 5.68 ERA in 51 innings for the Mariners to begin last season, but then turned things around following a late-August trade to the Cubs. He logged 12 innings for Chicago down the stretch with a 0.75 ERA and 15/4 K/BB ratio, which was enough to convince the Padres he’s still a viable late-inning option at age 39.
San Diego traded away closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joaquin Benoit while also shifting Brandon Maurer to the rotation, so Rodney has a chance to claim the closer role with a strong spring training performance. He saved a league-leading 48 games for the Mariners in 2014 and calling Petco Park home should help with his occasional struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.