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Marlins add needed pitching depth in Fernando Rodney

It's often a roller-coaster ride with new Marlins reliever Fernando Rodney, but he had a great first half in San Diego. Lenny Ignelzi/AP Photo

The trade deadline is a month away, but the wheels are starting to spin: The Miami Marlins acquired veteran closer Fernando Rodney from the San Diego Padres for Class A pitcher Chris Paddack.

Rodney, who was in line to represent the Padres at the All-Star Game thanks to his 0.31 ERA (he's allowed one earned run, and just two runs total, in 28⅔ innings), likely moves into a setup role in front of closer A.J. Ramos, who has converted all 24 of his save chances despite walking 18 batters in 31 innings.

What are the Marlins getting? That's always the unknown with Rodney, who still throws in the mid-90s and touches 98 mph at 39 years old. He's a fastball/changeup guy and as good as he's been this season, he was awful last season. After making the All-Star team for the Mariners in 2014, when he saved 48 games, he lost his job in 2015 due to a flurry of home runs and walks. He's avoided the long ball and batters are hitting just .127 against his fastball after hitting .280 against him in 2015 with the Mariners and Cubs.

Of course, this is all small-sample-size stuff. With Rodney, it's usually been a tightrope, even in 2014. But if he stays out of trouble with the fastball, the changeup is showing better action this year and has become a better wipeout pitch. Entering Thursday, the Marlins' bullpen ranked 13th in the majors with a 3.78 ERA. The spring-training injury to Carter Capps hurt Miami's depth, but David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough have combined for 104 strikeouts in 72⅔ innings.

The Marlins are currently a half-game ahead of the Cardinals and Mets in the wild-card race, and they'll probably still look to add a starting pitcher as the rotation behind Jose Fernandez has struggled and Triple-A vet Paul Clemens is the current fifth starter. Of course, who knows if the Marlins will be willing to pick up the salary of a veteran starter?

For the Padres, they already traded James Shields and can expect to shop just about anybody. Matt Kemp would be a player they'd love to trade, but even though he has 16 home runs, he's of little value these days because he's a liability in the outfield and has a lowly .277 OBP. Even if they eat much of his salary, it's unlikely a team would take him because he has still has three years remaining on his contract. The big question is whether they decide to cash in on lefty starter Drew Pomeranz, who has been a surprise with a 2.77 ERA. His peripherals are solid with a high strikeout rate, although a high walk rate, so if the Padres think he's for real, they might want to keep him. But in a trade market with limited starting pitchers available, Pomeranz would have some value.

Paddack is a 20-year-old right-hander, an eighth-round pick last June out of a Texas high school. His numbers at Class A Greensboro are impressive, with 48 strikeouts and just two walks in 28⅓ innings over six starts.