Found April 21, 2013 on
The Wandy Rodriguez trade is looking good right now. Photo credit: David Hague
When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez last year at the trade deadline, I wasn’t a fan of the move. For one, I really liked Robbie Grossman’s upside. I also didn’t think Rodriguez was the same pitcher he was a few years ago.
From 2008-2010, Rodriguez combined for a 3.36 ERA, along with an 8.4 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9 ratio. Since then his strikeouts have dropped slowly, ending up about 2.0 K/9 lower than that three-year span. He has lowered his walks slightly in the process.
Rodriguez didn’t look as dominant, but if there’s one thing he’s showing, it’s that he still knows how to pitch. One concern I had with Rodriguez was that he was starting to get hit around in the two months before the trade. From June 1st until the trade he had a 5.40 ERA in 58.1 innings with the Astros, along with a 39:17 K/BB ratio. He started off rough after coming over to the Pirates, giving up a 5.47 ERA in 24.2 innings over his first four starts.
After the rough start, Rodriguez settled down. In his time with the Pirates, including this season, he has thrown 91 innings, combining for a 3.16 ERA. His strikeout rate is down to 6.0 K/9 in that time, but his walks are also down to 2.5/9. His start to the 2013 season has definitely improved those numbers — he had a 3.72 ERA in 75 innings last year. But even his 2012 numbers weren’t bad. At the time of the trade he looked to be trending downward, but he’s definitely turned that around. Even with the loss in strikeouts, he’s still a guy who can get results.
If you look at the other side of that trade, the Pirates haven’t really lost much.
Robbie Grossman: He currently has a .294/.446/.294 line in 51 at-bats in Triple-A. He’s doing what he does best — drawing walks — but all of his hits are singles. I still like Grossman, but with the addition and strong early play from Travis Snider, the Pirates might not miss him.
Rudy Owens: He has a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings in Triple-A, with a 6.9 K/9 and a 3.5 BB/9 ratio. The walks are uncharacteristic for Owens.
Colton Cain: He moved back to low-A, after spending the 2012 season in high-A. So far he has an 8.18 ERA in 11 innings, with a 6.5 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9 ratio.
Perhaps the kicker for the trade is what happens after the 2013 season. Because Rodriguez was traded, his 2014 option turns into a player option. If he accepts, he would be making $13 M in 2014 (and the Astros would be paying $5.5 M of that money). If he declines, the Pirates would have to pay his $2.5 M buyout. That creates two scenarios:
1. Rodriguez accepts and the Pirates get him for one more year, while only paying him $7.5 M.
2. Rodriguez turns down $13 M and hits the free agent market. The Pirates could safely give him a qualifying offer for compensation, since he would have already turned down that amount for one season. This year the qualifying offer was $13.3 M. If Rodriguez turned the offer down and signed with another team, the Pirates would get a first round pick. If he continues pitching the way he has this year, or even in his total time with the Pirates, it wouldn’t be hard seeing him fetching a pick.
So not only has Rodriguez performed better than expected despite the declining strikeout numbers and the poor results in his final months with Houston, but the other side of the trade doesn’t look strong, and the Pirates will probably improve on their end of the deal in 2014.
Links and Notes
**The 2013 Prospect Guide and the 2013 Annual are both available on the products page of the site. If you order them together, you’ll save $5.
**Prospect Notebook: Luis Heredia, Zack Dodson, and Rinku Singh Set to Return Soon.
**Draft Prospect Watch: Big Game For Bryant, Manaea Struggles.
**Prospect Watch: Impressive Streak For Andrew Lambo.
**Minor League Schedule: 4/21/13.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez speaks to the media (through Heberto Andrade, who is usually a bullpen catcher for the club but serves as an interpreter here) about what made him successful in Pittsburgh’s 6-0 win against Atlanta on Friday.
James McDonald struck out nine batters tonight. Photo by Mark Olson
Tonight wasn’t the type of game you’d normally expect the Pirates to win. It’s not the type of matchup you’d expect any team to win. On one side you had the best team in baseball, with a pitcher who entered the game with 20.1 shutout innings to start the season. On the other side you had a team that has been...
Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The rankings include every hitter who had an at-bat for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. Players who spent time at different levels are counted multiple times, once for each level,...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be...
Starling Marte’s 10-game hit streak came to an emphatic end last night, with the 22-year old Pirates outfielder striking out five times in Pittsburgh’s 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park.
Starling Marte was given the night off by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Photo Credit: David Hague
Marte is not in the lineup today against the Braves with manager Clint Hurdle electing...
In tonight’s game story, James Santelli broke down the great homestand the Pirates just had, and how impressive it was that they beat three teams who look like they’ll be heading to the playoffs this year. I thought about following up on that by looking back at what I’ve said over the last two years when the Pirates started to look promising.
There have been times in each of...
Top prospect Gerrit Cole will get his fourth start of the season today, hoping to build off his first solid outing of the 2013 season. Altoona played a doubleheader last night, making up a Friday rainout. Francisco Liriano made his second rehab start in the first game. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. We have...
Braves (13-2) at Pirates (7-8)
7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs look to even this weekend’s series with the red-hot Braves tonight after a tough defeat late in last night’s game.
Programming note: This was originally scheduled to be another MLB Network telecast, but the Pens game has been postponed tonight due to the events in Boston. As a...
When the Pirates play games like they did last night, with Wandy Rodriguez cruising on the mound and the defense clicking behind him and all sorts of guys coming up with big hit after big hit, it's actually sort of easy to watch them and think, "Seriously, this team could contend for a playoff spot." It's obviously early to talk about things like that when the team...
Braves (13-3) at Pirates (8-8)
7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs go for two in a row against the Braves tonight at PNC. It’s Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night, so there should be a solid crowd (which is good, since there haven’t been any good crowds since the opener). A win would clinch a series split for the Bucs, which would be a very strong result...
On Saturday, April 20, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be giving out an Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead — referred to as “Clutch Bobblehead” in a nod to McCutcheon’s nickname — to the first 25,000 fans through the gates at PNC Park for the team’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead features Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger awards...
The Pirates are on the good side of .500 for the first time this season thanks to another rock-solid win over the Atlanta Braves. Saturday night’s victory featured more fantastic pitching and just enough offense to get the job done.
James McDonald remains impossible to understand. One start after completely imploding and looking like he had no business starting in the major leagues...
What a homestand! The Pirates were somehow able to patch together a victory on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up an excellent series win over Atlanta. It was certainly a messy game, but that won’t stop any Bucco fan from being thrilled with the outcome.
The main reason today’s win was so big was the pitching matchup. It was Jonathan Sanchez (ERA north of 12) against Kris Medlen ...
After slowing down one of the hottest teams in the majors, the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of their longest win streak of the season.
A.J. Burnett will try to deliver that fourth straight victory while building on a superb outing Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh has won nine of 12 since its 1-5 start and took three of four over Atlanta to wrap...
Here is Jonathan Sanchez's line from this afternoon:
3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K
And here is Kris Medlen's line:
6 IP, 7 H, 3R, 1 BB, 6 K
That's not a line that would seem to bear well for the Pirates, but they found a way anyway today, mostly on the bullpen and on Russell Martin. The bullpen was excellent today. Combined, they went six shutout innings...