If he agrees to terms, Rodney could be employed in a setup role or close in a lefty-righty tandem with Brian Fuentes, who led the Majors with 48 saves in 55 chances.
Rodney, who will be 33 when the season opens, is the brand of hard thrower Angels manager Mike Scioscia prefers. Rodney has produced 314 career strikeouts in 330 innings across seven seasons, while walking 170 hitters and yielding 300 hits. His lifetime ERA is 4.28.
A Type B free agent, Rodney would not cost the Angels a Draft pick. The Tigers would receive a supplemental pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft if he signs elsewhere.
Rodney earned $2.7 million in 2009. Fuentes draws $9 million in 2010, the second year of his free-agent deal signed last winter. Fuentes has a $9 million vesting option for 2011 if he finishes 55 games in '10. The ESPN report speculates that the lefty could be used at least part of the time earlier than the ninth inning if the Angels want to prevent the option from kicking in.
The Angels adhere to a policy of not commenting on free-agent negotiations. At the Winter Meetings, however, general manager Tony Reagins indicated that the club would be aggressive in seeking a reliever if Oliver -- who was not offered arbitration as a Type A free agent -- chose another club. The Rangers, an AL West rival of the Angels, offered the advantage of keeping Oliver close to his Dallas-area home. Family was a consideration he mentioned on several occasions last season.
As the Angels weigh possibilities for the starting rotation with the departure of John Lackey, a former Rangers right-hander could be an intriguing alternative.
Vicente Padilla, who excelled down the stretch for the Dodgers, is a free agent at 32. Padilla was 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in seven starts and eight outings with the Dodgers.
In the postseason, Padilla shut out the Cardinals on four hits across seven innings, nailing down a win in the National League Division Series for the Dodgers. He was 0-1 in two NL Championship Series starts against his former club, the Phillies, finishing the postseason with a 3.63 ERA while allowing 12 hits and four walks in 17 1/3 innings, striking out 13.
A native of Nicaragua known for throwing hard and bringing it inside, Padilla is believed to be seeking a two-year deal totaling in the $15 million range with performance incentives that could bring it to $9 million to $10 million annually.
Padilla is 98-85 with a 4.33 ERA in 305 career games, 221 as a starter. He has pitched for four Major League teams, three times reaching at least 200 innings in a season. Padilla has won at least 14 games in four seasons. Lackey, one year younger than Padilla, owns four more career wins.