Marlins decline Rodney's club option

All-Star reliever becomes free agent, can negotiate with all teams

Marlins decline Rodney's club option

MIAMI -- All-Star reliever Fernando Rodney, who struggled in the second half with the Marlins after being acquired from the Padres in late June, will be a free agent.

Miami on Thursday planned to decline Rodney's $2 million club option, which included bonuses, freeing the 39-year-old right-hander to negotiate with all 30 Major League teams.

The decision is not surprising, because Rodney had his difficulties with the Marlins. After being obtained from San Diego for prospect Chris Paddack, the veteran reliever posted a 5.89 ERA in 39 appearances.

Cost was another consideration. The Marlins may have been receptive to picking up the $2 million club option, but the contract also included bonuses that could have earned the veteran roughly another $2.5 million. The buyout is $400,000.

Rodney was one of the top closers in the National League at the time the Marlins made their deal with San Diego on June 30. In 28 appearances with the Padres, he locked down all 17 of his save opportunities, while boasting a 0.31 ERA.

Similar success didn't follow the right-hander to South Florida.

With the Marlins, his role changed a few times. Initially, he was brought in to set up for closer A.J. Ramos. But after Ramos went on the disabled list with a fractured finger in August, Rodney moved into the closer role, and he converted eight of 11 save chances.

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Late in the season, after struggling, Rodney was used earlier in games.

Rodney and Ramos were each selected to the All-Star Game. But Rodney was mainly picked for his production in San Diego, which was also the host city for the Midsummer Classic.

A 14-year veteran, Rodney turns 40 on March 18.

The Marlins are expected to explore the trade and free-agent markets for bullpen depth, but the club has several right-handed candidates who can handle setup roles, including Kyle Barraclough, Nick Wittgren, Brian Ellington and David Phelps, if he isn't in the rotation.

With the conclusion of the World Series, all teams have five days to negotiate exclusively with their pending free agents.

The Marlins have six free agents: Rodney, right-hander Andrew Cashner, left-hander Mike Dunn, catcher Jeff Mathis, outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Chris Johnson.

It is doubtful any of them will reach agreement with the Marlins before 11:59 p.m. ET/midnight Monday.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.