The Braves released left-hander Wandy Rodriguez today, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Rodriguez had been competing with fellow southpaw Eric Stults for the final spot in Atlanta’s rotation, so it would seem that Stults has won that battle. Last night’s acquisition of Trevor Cahill limited the remaining rotation slots and seemingly forced the Braves to choose between one of the remaining candidates as opposed to each making the club.
The 36-year-old Rodriguez hoped to lock down a rotation spot with the Braves after missing the majority of the 2013 and 2014 seasons due to a forearm strain and knee surgery, respectively. Rodriguez made a name for himself in the Astros rotation beginning in 2008, and from that season through 2013, he worked to a combined 3.48 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 997 1/3 innings between Houston and Pittsburgh.
Injuries limited Rodriguez to just 26 2/3 innings and a 6.75 ERA last year, but he looked sharp for much of Spring Training with Atlanta. In 23 innings this spring, Rodriguez notched a 3.13 ERA (eight earned runs) on 22 hits and eight walks with 23 strikeouts. It would be difficult to say that Stults, 35, definitively outpitched Rodriguez. Though Stults’ 1.89 ERA was superior, he also struck out just seven hitters in 19 innings of work for the Braves.
Rodriguez was set to earn a $2MM base salary upon making the club, but he’ll now instead hope to latch on with another team seeking some depth in its rotation.