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Insider Only Trade Analysis: Pirates bolster rotation and don’t surrender a top prospect for Wandy Rodriguez, a non-rental player

The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially acquired left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and cash from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. Rodriguez is under team control through the 2014 season and the Pirates will pay $17.7 million of Rodriguez owed salary through the 2014 season. Houston will pick up $10 million of the $26 million Rodriguez is due in 2013 and 2014.

The salary payout for the Pirates breaks down with them paying $1.7 million to Rodriguez in 2012 (making $10 million), $8.5 million in 2013 (owed $13 million) and $7.5 million (owed $13 million)
The 33-year-old Rodriguez went 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA (130.2ip/55er) and 89 strikeouts in 21 starts for the Astros this year. Prior to his July 18 start with Houston, Rodriguez pitched at least 5.0 or more innings in 48 straight starts, which was the longest active streak in the National League and the third-longest in the Majors behind C.C. Sabathia (76 games) and Justin Verlander (71 games).
“Wandy Rodriguez is a quality starting pitcher and we are pleased to add him to our club,” GM Neal
Huntington said. “Wandy has quietly ranked among the upper echelon of Major League starting pitchers the last three seasons in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts among other categories. We believe he will be a solid addition to our rotation for the remainder of this season and beyond.”
Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Rodriguez trails only Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels among all National League southpaws in strikeouts (626) and wins (43). Overall in Major League Baseball since 2009, Rodriguez ranks 21st in strikeouts and 25th in ERA (3.44).
Rodriguez has posted at least 10 wins four times since breaking into the big leagues in 2005 with
Houston, including a career-high 14 wins in 2009. At the time of the trade, he ranked first all-time
in Astros history among lefthanders in strikeouts (1093) and second in wins (80).
Instant Analysis
GM Neal Huntington has sought out a starting pitcher who wouldn’t be a two month rental and he accomplished that goal with the trade for Wandy Rodriguez who will be under team control through the 2014 season. Most importantly Huntington didn’t surrender any assets from the Major League roster that could hurt them down the stretch in a particular area or any significant assets in the system. Robbie Grossman and Rudy Owens both haven an opportunity to be solid players in the Majors but neither player is regarded as a true impact prospect, although some scouts are high on Grossman. Grossman is the real wildcard here as the Pirates lack hitters in their system and there are so many varying opinions on him. Owens projects more as a No. 4 or No. 5 pitcher at best.
The big concern with Rodriguez is obviously the fact that he’s 33.
For the Astros, it was a solid return as they are in rebuilding mode, while for the Pirates, the addition of Rodriguez is bold for now and the future as James McDonald is starting to tail off a bit and the Pirates have stability in the rotation for next season with Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, McDonald, Jeff Karstens and hopefully Gerrit Cole who the team is optimistic will be ready to push for Major League action at somepoint.
The move for Rodriguez is expected to push Kevin Correia into the bullpen as the Pirates go with a starting rotation of A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Karstens and Erik Bedard.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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