Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 7/24/12

The Pittsburgh Pirates are planning for a playoff run, and they've made a move to correspond with those plans, acquiring starter Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros for prospects Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens, and Colton Cain. The Pirates will also get money to cover Rodriguez's contract.

As the lone veteran remaining on the Astros' pitching staff, Rodriguez was expected to be dealt before next Tuesday's trade deadline, and it came sooner rather than later. The 33-year old has a 3.79 ERA in 130 2/3 innings this year for the Astros, and has struck out 89 while walking 32. It's useful to note that Rodriguez's strikeout rate has decreased in each of the last four years, but this year's 2.20 walk rate is a career low as well, leading to a 2.78 strikeout to walk ratio that is better than each of the last two seasons. Rodriguez has also pitched to contact more this year, allowing a 50.7% groundball rate that is far and away the best mark of his career, more than 5% better than his career mark.

At the very least for the Pirates, Rodriguez will be a solid replacement for Kevin Correia in the rotation. In 102 1/3 innings, Correia has struck out just 46 batters, and has a 4.31 ERA. Moving Rodriguez into a quartet that includes James McDonald, AJ Burnett, Erik Bedard, and a rejuvenated Jeff Karstens suddenly gives Pittsburgh one of the best rotations in the league.The only thing is that three of the five pitchers in Pittsburgh's rotation are over 30, with Karstens hitting that age in September. I guess they'll be easing their young pitchers lke Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in then, instead of throwing them into the fire.

Houston's return didn't include any of Pittsburgh's elite prospects, like Taillon, Cole, Josh Bell, or Starling Marte, but they got good value for Rodriguez. Grossman ranked as the team's eighth best prospect coming into the year, and possesses fantastic plate discipline. He walked 104 times for high-A Bradenton last year, and has 58 in 94 games for AA Altoona this year, while adding seven homers and a .778 OPS. The 22-year old was a sixth round pick in 2008, and was Pittsburgh's minor league player of the year last season. The 21-year old Cain was Pittsburgh's 13th best prospect coming into the year, and he had a 4.20 ERA in 75 innings for Bradenton, striking out 51 while walking 25. He was an eighth round pick in 2009, and has been described as "fearless" in the way he attacks the strike zone. Finally, there's Owens, the closest to the majors of the three. He ranked as Pittsburgh's 16th best prospect coming intot he year, and the 24-year old has taken a huge step forward in his second year at AAA Indianapolis. Owens has a 3.14 ERA in 117 1/3 innings, and has struck out 85 while walking 25. Owens could probably go right to the majors for the Astros, but he's not much more than a back-end starter.

All in all, the deal looks solid for both teams. The Pirates got another veteran arm to fill out their rotation while not giving up any of their top pitchers or coveted middle infielder Alen Hanson, and the Astros continued to add depth for their farm system. I really can't find fault with either side, though the Pirates may have given up too much for a player as old as Rodriguez.

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Miguel Cabrera headed to disabled list for 1st time in career

Report: San Antonio Spurs to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Bryce Harper flaunts patriotic bat, hits home run

Report: Magic will sign Tobias Harris to 4-year deal

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.