Halos, Rodney finalize two-year deal
Former Tigers closer strengthens back end of bullpen
ANAHEIM -- Enthused about coming to an organization known for winning and contending in warm weather, Fernando Rodney, on his first official day as a member of the Angels, said he'd leave the issue of his bullpen role in the hands of a higher authority.
"I'm part of a team that has one of the best managers in the game," Rodney said through a translator on Thursday in a conference call, "and whatever Mike Scioscia calls for me to do, I'll do it to contribute to a winning cause."
Rodney's two-year deal was announced by Angels general manager Tony Reagins. It is worth an estimated $11 million total, but the club did not disclose financial terms.
Rodney joins a bullpen that includes closer Brian Fuentes and setup men Scot Shields, Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger. The addition gives the Angels enviable depth with a collective of power arms in front of Fuentes' deception and variety, which enabled the All-Star southpaw to lead the Majors with 48 saves in 2009.
With 37 saves in 38 chances for the Tigers in 2009, Rodney, who will be 33 when the 2010 season opens, also would be comfortable if he were thrust into the closing role.
"With the addition of Fernando," Reagins said, "we feel we've improved our bullpen and improved our chances of contending for a World Series championship.
"Our bullpen is extremely strong. When you add Fernando Rodney to Brian Fuentes, Kevin Jepsen, Scot Shields and Jason Bulger, that's a pretty good mix right there and gives us some options."
Rodney essentially is replacing veteran southpaw Darren Oliver, who signed a one-year free-agent deal with a vesting option for 2011 with American League West rival Texas.
The return of Shields, after missing most of 2009 with knee surgery, figures to significantly improve the back end of the bullpen.
Reagins said the Angels are not necessarily done making moves even though, with eight arbitration cases to be resolved, they appear close to their $113 million payroll budget target.
Moving outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., even if it means picking up part of the $23.5 million he's owed over the next two years, could add some payroll flexibility.
"We're still looking at opportunities to improve, whether that be via free agency or trade," Reagins said. "We're going to look at opportunities, but we feel very good about our team. We feel we've strengthened ourselves on the offensive side [with free-agent DH/outfielder Hideki Matsui] and in the bullpen."
The Angels retained one free agent, Bobby Abreu, but have lost Chone Figgins, John Lackey and Oliver to free agency. Vladimir Guerrero also is expected to depart along with Robb Quinlan and perhaps Kelvim Escobar.
While closing out games for the Tigers in 2009, Rodney was 2-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 73 appearances. Working 75 2/3 innings, he had 61 strikeouts and surrendered 41 walks.
Rodney, who endured elbow issues in 2008 limiting to about half a season, passed a physical exam by the Angels.
"We're confident as far as past injuries with his elbow," Reagins said. "He showed last year he was durable, and his velocity was above average."
He has hit 100 mph on radar guns in the past and was throwing in the mid-90s in 2009.
Rodney has produced 314 career strikeouts in 330 innings across seven seasons, while walking 170 and yielding 300 hits. His lifetime ERA is 4.28.
"My combination of my fastball with a changeup is very instrumental," Rodney said, "and in being an integral part of the Anaheim Angels."
A Type B free agent, he does not cost the Angels a Draft pick. The Tigers will receive a supplemental pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Rodney earned $2.7 million in 2009, the last of seven years with the Tigers.
"I want to thank the Detroit Tigers organization for providing me the opportunity to play baseball," Rodney said.
A native of Samana, Dominican Republic, Rodney said he got to know Angels players Kendry Morales, Ervin Santana, Erick Aybar and Abreu while competing for his native country in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.