Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Wandy Rodriguez and Cash For Three Prospects
So the first move has been made. Neal Huntington made the first move for Houston Astros’ Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez in exchange for Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens, and Coltan Cain. For your initial breakdown, the Pirates traded a 3 starter at best (Owens) an unknown with lots of work needed (Cain) and a true mystery outfielder who would probably be another Alex Presley at best. In return, the Pirates get a decent pitcher to solidify the rotation.
Wandy has been in Houston for awhile and has made several starts against the Bucs in the past. He is 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA this season with 166 K’s in 130.2 IP. His WHIP is 1.27 with a BABIP of .287, all translating into realistically an average number 3 or 4 guy. However, what catches my eye is how Wandy is getting his outs. Over the last three years, Wandy’s batted ball stats are roughly this: 250 groundouts, 190 flyball outs, and 105 lineouts. This season, Wandy already has 214 groundouts while his flyouts are reduced to 126 and lineouts to 82. Over the rest of the season, Wandy should finish (assuming he makes 7 more starts) 285 groundouts, 168 flyballs, and 109 lineouts.
Deciphering all of the numbers I’ve just spit out, this is what I think Neal Huntington saw in Wandy: a back end starter who’s controllable for at least next year. He’s expensive ($10 million this year, $13 million next) but assuming Houston kicks in cash that price will drop. Wandy has lowered his flyball rate and raised his groundout rate making him another Charlie Morton type of guy. Being a left hander means that in a potential playoff series against a lineup full of lefties, Rodriguez gets the nod over Karstens. Kevin Correia and Erik Bedard now get to rest down the stretch and the WAR difference between Wandy and Kevin is two full games.
Overall, it’s a solid Neal Huntington move that took away the sting of the fact that Pirates just got one hit for most of a game at home by Paul Maholm. The Cubs got to J-Mac in the first, fifth and sixth inning capped by an Alfanso Soriano homer to left. The Pirates offense sputtered for the second straight night, meaning the Pirates, facing Ryan Dempster tomorrow, could legitimately get swept. Ruh oh.
UPDATE: Looks the the Pirates are on the hook for just over one million this year, $7.5 million next year and $8.5 for the player option. Not too shabby at all.