It didn’t take much last winter for the Pirates to re-sign utilityman Sean Rodriguez, who inked a one-year, $2.5MM contract after a poor season. Considering Rodriguez has drastically improved his output this year, Pittsburgh won’t be able to bring him back during the offseason at such a low cost, which general manager Neal Huntington knows.
“We’d love to have Sean remain in a Pirate uniform,” Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Given what he’s done this year, we would fully anticipate that there’s going to be quite a market out there for him.”
Rodriguez has lined up everywhere but pitcher and catcher this season, though he has spent the lion’s share of his time at first base, the middle infield and right field. Offensively, the 31-year-old is amid a career campaign, having slashed a terrific .264/.345/.518 with 18 home runs through 320 plate appearances. Rodriguez’s overall line and homer total are easily personal bests since he broke into the majors with the Angels in 2008, and the longtime Ray has helped his cause with a 10 percent walk rate. That’s significantly better than the 2.1 percent mark Rodriguez posted in 2015, when he logged one of his worst seasons.
In assessing Rodriguez’s value, Huntington said, “Sean’s just done a remarkable job. The defensive versatility and the impact, it’s hard to measure.”
Rodriguez hit an uninspiring .228/.295/.371 across 2,093 PAs entering this season, but he could seek a multiyear deal worth around $5MM per annum on the heels of a strong 2016, writes Biertempfel. That would likely price him out of Pittsburgh, per Biertempfel, who notes that the club has potential in-house replacements in Adam Frazier and Alen Hanson. Frazier seems especially likely to take over for Rodriguez, as the 24-year-old has spent time at multiple infield and outfield positions and slashed .311/.361/.432 in his first 144 major league trips to the plate.