By Brent Stecker
Danny Farquhar made a strong case to be the Mariners' long-term closer late last season, notching 16 saves over the final month and a half of 2013 after assuming the job from the struggling Tom Wilhelmsen.
Danny Farquhar, the Mariners' closer late last season, is unsure what his bullpen role will be in 2014. (AP)
But as well as he played down the stretch last year – he blew just two saves and allowed runs in only three of his 24 appearances after becoming the closer – the Mariners signed veteran stopper Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $14 million contract this offseason, pushing Farquhar back down the pecking order in the bullpen.
The 27-year-old right-hander could have taken the move as a slight, but he told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" that he knows the addition of Rodney is good for the team as a whole.
"Initially I was bummed. I wanted to be the closer as well as everyone else in the bullpen wants to be closer," Farquhar said. "But after thinking about it, I'm like, 'Man, this makes the back-end of the bullpen really good. Just shortens the game.' So for a team standpoint it was a genius move and it just makes us better."
Rodney, who will turn 37 on Tuesday, definitely brings valuable closing experience to Seattle's bullpen. He has 172 career saves, including 37 for Tampa Bay in 2013, and is just two seasons removed from a career year in which he saved 48 of 50 opportunities while maintaining a minuscule 0.60 ERA for the Rays.
The signing of Rodney adds mystery to what exactly Farquhar's role will be in 2014, though Farquhar isn't exactly concerned for his future.
"They haven't talked to me too much about roles. I think the plan now is people are going to work themselves into roles, which is usually how it works on every team I've been on," Farquhar said.
Farquhar seems to be OK with pitching wherever manager Lloyd McClendon and pitching coach Rick Waits decide is best for him, which is all in line with an approach he's hoping to see the team take on this season – one that's more in the mold of the reigning AL West champion Oakland Athletics and less like the star-heavy but lackluster L.A. Angels of recent years.
"You put all these multi-million-dollar guys on a team like the Marlins did and the Angels have, and it doesn't necessarily mean that the team's gonna play well," Farquhar said. "You look at a team like the Athletics, and they're just scrappy, grindy players that get the job done. If we can get to that mentality and stick together, we're definitely gonna win 90, 95 games, 100 games."