Rodney, Mariners officially ink two-year deal
Veteran reliever expected to solidify back end of 'pen, reunites with McClendon
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Free-agent closer Fernando Rodney signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mariners, the club announced on Thursday.
In a non-related move, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez told the club that he would skip the season because of a relapse of a gastrointestinal issue that caused him to miss all but 41 games last season. Gutierrez was placed on the restricted list, opening up a spot on the 40-man roster for the right-handed Rodney.
Rodney, who will turn 37 in March, saved 85 games and posted a 1.91 ERA over the past two seasons with the Rays. He should help solidify the back end of the Mariners' bullpen.
"Rodney is signed and we're extremely happy to have him," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He certainly solidifies the back end of our bullpen.
"We were together in Detroit. We obviously went to a World Series together [in 2006]. I know this guy. He's a tremendous frontline pitcher. He's got great character. I think the fans of Seattle are going to love him."
Seattle has two returning relievers -- right-handers Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen -- who combined to save 40 games last season, though both had ERAs above 4.00 for the season.
Rodney's agreement could earn him up to $15 million over the two seasons if he meets incentives.
Rodney was in camp and at his locker as pitchers and catchers reported on Thursday, and he participated in drills as soon as pending blood work from his physical had cleared.
After nine years with the Tigers and Angels, Rodney had a breakout year with the Rays in 2012, when he racked up 48 saves with a 0.60 ERA, striking out 76 batters in 74 2/3 innings to earn his first All-Star Game berth, the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award and a fifth-place finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
He was also a key member of last year's victorious Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic, saving every one of the D.R.'s victories.
Otherwise, Rodney was not as overpowering last season, but still recorded 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.
For his career, he has a 3.70 ERA and 172 saves with 551 strikeouts in 571 1/3 innings.
Rodney earned $2.5 million last year with the Rays and was regarded as one of the premier relievers on the free-agent market. Rodney said he also had offers from the Orioles, Mets and Indians, but ultimately decided on the Mariners.
"It feels good to be here and be part of a club with all the guys they have here," he said. "We have a lot of talented young guys. I might be the piece that these guys need to compete in the division. You know my situation. I try to close the game, come into the game in those situations. When the game is on the line I try to do my job. But we have the pieces here along with a good manager. The longer everybody will be together will just make it better."
Seattle signs veteran lefty Wolf to Minors deal
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners on Thursday and is trying to salvage his baseball career after recovering from a second Tommy John surgery.
Seattle also signed right-hander Zach Miner to a Minor League contract on Thursday.
Wolf, 37, who hasn't pitched since the end of the 2012 season when he sustained the elbow injury with the Orioles, said on Thursday that he knows this could be his last chance.
"I've always wanted to play for as long as I could. I enjoy playing," Wolf told MLB.com. "I feel like, obviously, this is my last shot, because if for some reason my elbow goes again, I'm not going to have surgery on it a third time. I've had a long time to think about things, about how my career has gone and being appreciative for the time I've had in this game. Whatever goes on with my elbow now and moving forward is really icing on the cake."
Wolf has played for six teams in 14 seasons, including 2007 and '09 with his hometown Dodgers. He was born and raised in Canoga Park, Calif., and he went to college at Pepperdine University in nearby Malibu. Wolf, who owns a career 132-117 record with a 4.20 ERA and 1,767 strikeouts in 2,268 innings, was a second-round pick by the Phillies in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft and spent his first eight seasons in Philadelphia.
He has been a man without a team, undergoing his own rehab since the end of 2012.
"Since having the surgery, my recovery has been a full-time job," Wolf said. "It's been a pretty monotonous year, training and working out six days a week and getting back on a throwing program. I've been trying to enjoy it the best I could, being at home in L.A. and being on my own and not having to do it under a team's supervision. It's liberating in a way, but it's a long process.
"It's tough, considering my age and it being my second one. I knew I was going to have an uphill battle, but so far I've been extremely fortunate. Things have gone really well."
Mariners enjoy revamped Spring Training digs
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hammers were still pounding and construction crews were still painting the inside walls as the Mariners' new clubhouse and training facility officially opened for business on Thursday, when pitchers and catchers donned their uniforms for the first time this spring.
The Padres and Mariners have been in this facility for 20 years and as part of an extension to the original lease, both teams had their clubhouse facilities gutted and reconstructed since this past spring. A revamp of Peoria Stadium is on the docket for this summer.
For the Mariners, their new building went from 35,700 square feet to 56,368, a 58 percent increase at a cost of $15.5 million. The complex opened in 1993, drawing the Padres from Yuma, Ariz., and the Mariners a year later from Tempe.
"It's nice," said reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who has been with the Mariners since 2011. "It looks newer, fresher. Everything is much bigger. The weight room is much bigger. I'm just starting to get around the whole complex. It's very nice."
The new facility includes a high-tech, HD-TV video room, a 1,000-square-foot training room, a modern kitchen and dining area, a 2,800-square-foot clubhouse, a hydro-therapy pool area and a 4,280-square-foot strength and conditioning center.
On the Minor League side, the clubhouse is 3,948 square feet and the training room is 1,420 square feet.
The reconstruction keeps the Peoria Sports Complex on par with many of the newer facilities that have opened in Maricopa County over the past few years, including Camelback Ranch in Glendale for the Dodgers and White Sox, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale for the D-backs and Rockies, and the new Cubs Park, an $84 million stadium and facility that opened in Mesa this spring.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.