Wandy Rodriguez Rumors
Rodriguez's decision was an expected one, as the soon-to-be 35-year-old pitched just 62 2/3 innings for the Pirates in 2013 as a result of an injury to his left (throwing) forearm. Rodriguez wouldn't have been able to approach this type of money as a free agent, so he will instead look to bounce back as a member of a Pirates rotation that will also include Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton. The Pirates want to bring A.J. Burnett back into the fold, but they have Jeff Locke as an internal replacement, should Burnett decide to retire.
Rodriguez was effective in his limited 2013 sample, posting a 3.59 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/8 and a 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. He was originally acquired by the Pirates in a 2012 trade that sent Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens and Colton Cain to the Astros.
Since picking up Justin Grimm from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, the Cubs have liked what they've seen from him in a relief role, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Pitching coach Chris Bosio explains that the club is "presenting different roles for him," and Gonzales says that Grimm could stay in the pen going into spring training. On to more links from the AL and NL Central...
- The Pirates have shut down Wandy Rodriguez because of persistent pain and discomfort in his left forearm, according to a statement from GM Neal Huntington. The move will provide more time for the flexor tendon in Rodriguez's forearm to heal and sets him up to be ready for Opening Day 2014, Huntington said.
- Rodriguez says he hasn't considered whether he'll trigger his $13MM player option for next year, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. However, it's unlikely that he doesn't do so, Biertempfel says. The Pirates are on the hook for $7.5MM of the option.
- The Twins don't plan to sign James McDonald, who elected free agency today after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Pirates, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com says. Minnesota will re-evaluate McDonald and take a look at his medicals over the offseason, however.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The Astros will also pay some of the remaining salary owed to Rodriguez at least through 2013 and perhaps through 2014, as the club option for that year became a player option when Rodriguez was traded, per a stipulation in his contract. The Astros' yearly contributions to Rodriguez's salaries break down as such: $1.7MM in 2012, $8.5MM in 2013, and potentially $7.5MM in 2014.
Rodriguez, 33, has posted a 4.04 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in a little over 1,300 career innings, all with the Astros. The Wasserman Media Group client signed a three-year, $34MM extension with Houston prior to the 2011 season.
Grossman, an outfielder, is the best of the three prospects acquired by Houston, according to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (Twitter). A 22-year-old switch-hitter, Grossman was a sixth-round draft choice of the Bucs in 2008. He's hit .262/.374/.403 with seven homers in 413 plate appearances this season with Double-A Altoona.
Owens, 24, had a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has been added to Houston's 40-man roster.
Tom Singer of MLB.com first broke that the trade was close. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirmed that it was official and added in financial details (via Twitter), as did Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter). And club press releases added which players the Astros received.
The Rangers have the second best record in baseball (55-37) while the Astros have the worst record in baseball (34-60). Here's the latest from Texas...
- The Rangers would have interest in Marco Scutaro as a utility man if the Rockies were to put him on the market, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Cliff Lee does not have the Rangers on his 21-team no-trade list according to Heyman. There is still no indication that the Phillies will move their veteran left-hander, even to free up payroll to sign Cole Hamels long-term.
- Carlos Lee, Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ, and Brett Myers have all been traded already, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that it "will be a while" before the Astros deal Wandy Rodriguez (Twitter link).
- In an Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Keith Law says the two pitchers the Astros received in exchange for Myers - Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters - "barely qualify as prospects." He says Walters has a chance as a lefty specialist.
- ESPN's Buster Olney hears from rival executives that the Astros seem to be following the old Devil Rays strategy, meaning they'll accumulate top draft picks for several years because their big league team will be so bad (Twitter link).
The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors...
- The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
- The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.”
- The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
- Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
- The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
- Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
- The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
- The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.
It was on this day in 1961 that commissioner Ford Frick suggested that "a distinctive mark" would be placed on a new home run record if a player eclipsed Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 homers in more than 154 games (the length of Ruth's season in 1927). Though no such notation ever used in any sort of official record, it was still popularly believed that Frick and Major League Baseball had asterisked Roger Maris' 61-homer season.
Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium...
- The Yankees don't have interest in Juan Pierre or Rick Ankiel, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). The Bombers' search for outfield help will intensify with the news that Brett Gardner will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery, though Gardner's agent Joe Bick says Gardner still hopes to return this season, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Wandy Rodriguez is "not even on [the Yankees'] radar," a source tells Marc Carig (Twitter link). The Yankees reportedly had scouts on hand to watch Rodriguez pitch on Wednesday.
- The Yankees have released right-hander Nelson Figueroa, according to Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune (passed on by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog). Figueroa, 38, signed a minor league deal with New York in April and had a 3.96 ERA in 17 Triple-A games, nine of them starts.
- Darnell McDonald has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Collins. The Yankees designated McDonald for assignment on Tuesday to create roster space for C.C. Sabathia's return from the disabled list.
Here's the latest from around the league as Wednesday turns into Thursday...
- There doesn't appear to have been much contract dialogue between the Brewers and Zack Greinke, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. As of today, there is no evidence that a formal offer has been made even though we heard last week that the team was prepared to make one.
- Torii Hunter told Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that he's willing to take a big paycut to return to the Angels next season. Hunter is in the final year of his five-year, $90MM deal. If things don't work out with the Halos, the outfielder said he would consider playing for the Yankees, Rangers, or Dodgers. Retirement would be an option as well.
- The Marlins have no intention of trading Justin Ruggiano, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). The 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .368/.440/.705 in 111 plate appearances for Miami this season.
- Frisaro also notes (on Twitter) that the Marlins are not dangling Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, or Mark Buehrle. Yesterday we heard that the team could become sellers if they don't turn things around in the coming weeks.
- The Yankees, Tigers, and Royals were all on hand to watch Wandy Rodriguez get knocked around by the Padres this afternoon according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The left-hander remains available before the trade deadline.
The Braves are looking at possible bullpen upgrades in addition to starting pitching options, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Here are more news items from Morosi with precisely two weeks to go before this year’s trade deadline...
- The Tigers would like to add a left-handed starter, but are wary of taking on all of Wandy Rodriguez’s contract, Morosi reports (on Twitter). Rodriguez earns $10MM this year and $13MM next year. His contract includes a $13MM option for 2014 that becomes a player option if the Astros trade Rodriguez.
- Jason Vargas is a similar pitcher to Rodriguez on a more affordable contract who could appeal to the Tigers, in my opinion. Alternatively, Houston could absorb salary to facilitate a trade.
- The Cardinals continue to monitor the market for starters and relievers, Morosi and Ken Rosenthal write. The Mariners recently scouted Cardinals pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins, but it’s not known if the teams are actively discussing a trade for Vargas or anyone else.
- Morosi gets the sense that Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke will stay put in Milwaukee this year (video link).
- Morosi explains that he believes Cole Hamels is a better fit for the Rangers than the Angels (video link).
The Orioles are just one of many teams looking for starting pitching, and they reportedly have their sights set on Zack Greinke and Wandy Rodriguez. Here's the latest on some other clubs in need of rotation help...
- The Blue Jays are showing the most interest in pitchers under control beyond this season, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Matt Garza and Rodriguez are among those high on their list, according to sources.
- The White Sox's plans for the deadline depend heavily on John Danks and Philip Humber, tweets Morosi. If the two injured hurlers are not back soon, expect GM Kenny Williams to actively seek help for the battered rotation.
The Orioles are in the thick of the hunt for a postseason berth and are looking to shore up their starting rotation. Yesterday we learned that they were "going hard" after Zack Greinke, and today Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com (on Twitter) reports they've contacted the Astros about Wandy Rodriguez. Kubatko says GM Dan Duquette is talking to a lot of teams at the moment.
Rodriguez, 33, is one of a number of players Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is reportedly prepared to move. Carlos Lee was just traded to the Marlins and Brett Myers could be of interest to clubs in need of bullpen help. Wandy is no stranger to the trade rumor circuit and has pitched to a 3.54 ERA with his lowest strikeout rate (5.8 K/9) since his rookie year this season. He's owed approximately $5MM for the rest of 2012 and $13MM for 2014. His $13MM club option for 2014 becomes a player option if traded.
Baltimore got seven innings of one-run ball out of Miguel Gonzalez last night, but Brian Matusz was just demoted to Triple-A and Jake Arrieta owns a 6.13 ERA through 18 starts. The O's are 5.5 games back in the AL East but currently hold a 1.5 game lead on a wildcard spot. Adding a third reliable starter to Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel figures to be Duquette's top priority leading up to the deadline.