Veteran reliever Fernando Rodney has been released, the Athletics announced on Tuesday. Rodney was in the last year of his contract after the A’s picked up his $4.25 million club option in October.
Rodney, 42, was torched for 15 runs on 20 hits and 12 walks with 14 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings before being designated for assignment over the weekend.
While it would make sense that a struggling pitcher in his 40’s might not draw a lot of interest, the truth is most teams are in the market for bullpen help in one way or another. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rodney latch on with another team on a minor league deal. The A’s are still on the hook for the remainder of his salary minus the prorated major league minimum if he catches on elsewhere.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.