Is Wandy Rodriguez Overpaid?

For a pitcher with a 3.40 ERA since the beginning of the 2008 season, Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez isn't getting much respect.  American League teams seem to want nothing to do with him (though the Yankees and Red Sox scouted him this weekend), and one executive suggested to SI's Jon Heyman that the Astros might have to pay half of Rodriguez's contract to move him.  One GM told Heyman, "Nobody's going to touch Wandy."  

Since 2011 is Rodriguez's final arbitration year, and the player provided a discount in signing long-term, his current salary is just $7MM.  That'd leave only $2.3MM for '11 at the deadline.  After that Wandy gets $10MM in '12, $13MM in '13, and would have a $13MM player option for '14 upon a trade.  So you'd get him at a discount this year, and then have to take on as much as three years, $36MM.  3/36 doesn't sound too bad, although you're only on the hook for that last $13MM if Rodriguez doesn't feel he can do better on the open market or just really wants to stay.

I conducted an informal poll of two agents and one team executive on whether Rodriguez would top three years, $36MM as a free agent after this season.  One told me that amount is at the top of his probable range, and he wouldn't get more than three years since he turns 33 in January.  Another called Rodriguez a "poor man's Ted Lilly" in terms of cache, suggesting three years and $27-30MM would be more appropriate.

So does Rodriguez have surplus trade value with his current contract?  Given the lower salary in 2011, I'd say yes.  However, with the contract viewed as market value or a little worse, the Astros probably can't expect anything too impressive in return unless they include several million dollars.


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