"Well, a back end of the bullpen, for starters. Closer Fernando Rodney and setup man Brandon Lyon are free agents. The odds of signing both aren't good, and they want multi-year offers. Lyon's agent, Barry Meister, told me he will get multiple years for sure."Given how the market for closers is shaping up, one has to wonder if Rodney would be making the right move by turning down arbitration. Sure he is coming off a great statistical season as a closer, but will that actually translate into a multi year deal?
There are signs that that's not the case. Jose Valverde and Rafael Soriano, two of the best closers on the free agent market, are leaning towards accepting arbitration offers from their respective clubs. Why are they leaning towards accepting? Because they can earn more in 2010 by accepting arbitration and because there are a limited number of teams out there looking for a closer and willing to give a multi year contract as well. If the closers who are superior to Rodney are not confident about landing a long term contract with a dollar value to their liking, then why should Rodney be confident about his position?
At the same time, I believe that Fernando Rodney HAS TO test the free agent market. The reason: Rodney is coming off the best statistical season of his career and this might be the highest his value will ever reach on the free agent market. Even in a down economy, the probability of Rodney landing a multi year contract are greater coming off his 2009 season than any season he had in the past. In addition, if Soriano and Valverde are truly off the market, then Rodney might have an easier time attracting suitors, hopefully some of which are willing to give him a multi year deal.
Soriano and Valverde can accept arbitration now and wait a year until free agency because they are established commodities and are confident in their abilities to put up big numbers in 2010. However, Fernando Rodney is not as easy to predict and he is nowhere close to the stature of Soriano or Valverde. So while I have my doubts that Rodney will land a long term deal, I think he needs to test the market now and see what he can get because this might be the best chance he has to land a multi year contract.