What’s Next For Wandy Rodriguez?

The Twins, Reds, Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays tried to acquire lefty Wandy Rodriguez on July 31st, wrote ESPN's Jayson Stark, but the Astros "never seriously entertained trading him."  Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle wrote yesterday that Rodriguez, the longest-tenured Astro, had his representatives sit down with GM Ed Wade over the weekend to discuss his future.  Wandy hopes to remain with the Astros, but Wade will wait on specific discussions until the offseason.

The Astros have Rodriguez for 2011, as he'll be arbitration-eligible one last time.  The team's victory over the pitcher in a February arbitration hearing will continue to benefit them, as his raise will be added to a $5MM salary rather than a $7MM base. 

If Rodriguez seeks an extension that buys out free agent years, Joe Blanton's deal might be an apt comparison.  Blanton, entering his final arbitration year, signed a three-year, $24MM deal with the Phillies in January of 2010.  Aside from strikeouts, their numbers stack up quite well.  Check out Wandy's projected career numbers through 2010 (with ZiPS projecting the rest of the season) and Blanton's through 2009:

  • Innings pitched: 1026.6 for Blanton, 983.6 for Rodriguez
  • ERA: 4.21 for Blanton, 4.25 for Rodriguez
  • Wins: 63 for Blanton, 63 for Rodriguez
  • Strikeouts: 643 for Blanton, 826 for Rodriguez 

One other point in Rodriguez's favor is that his ERA in his last three seasons should be around 3.50 while Blanton's was 4.22.  Wandy has really turned it around recently after a rough start to the 2010 season.  He had a 6.09 ERA as recently as June 19th, but has allowed five earned runs over his last six starts to drop his season ERA to 4.00.

Rodriguez turns 32 in January, so he qualifies as a late bloomer.  His agent Barry Praver might suggest that as a southpaw who does not depend on velocity, Wandy figures to age well.

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