Right-hander Richard Rodriguez was one of the more prominent names cut loose before last night’s non-tender deadline, and now that the Braves have parted ways with the reliever, Jason Mackey of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Twitter link) that the Pirates are interested in bringing Rodriguez back to the Steel City. Rodriguez posted strong numbers throughout his three-plus seasons in the Pirates’ bullpen, which made him a hot commodity heading into the July trade deadline. While Rodriguez’s peripherals didn’t back up his excellent on-field performance to begin this season, the Bucs were still able to move him to Atlanta for two young arms on July 30.
The righty still managed a 3.12 ERA during his 26 innings for the Braves, but Rodriguez’s home run rate skyrocketed and his strikeout rate dropped off the map to only 8.5%. Atlanta didn’t use Rodriguez during the playoffs, and non-tendered him rather than pay a projected $3.1MM arbitration salary. On paper, it would seem like a reunion between Rodriguez and the Pirates would work out well for both sides, as the Bucs would gain some more relief depth, and Rodriguez would try to get himself on track in a familiar environment.
More from the relief pitching market…
- The Diamondbacks just made a splash in the relief market by signing Mark Melancon, but the club has also “at least checked on” such arms as Wily Peralta, Bryan Shaw, and Hunter Strickland, according to The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (Twitter link). All three right-handers had pretty decent bottom-line numbers in 2021, though the advanced metrics weren’t as impressed by their work. Nonetheless, any could provide some help to an Arizona bullpen that badly struggled last season, and Peralta could factor into the rotation mix after starting 18 of his 19 games with the Tigers. Shaw began his career with the D’Backs as a second-round pick for the team back in 2008, and he pitched his first two MLB seasons in a Diamondbacks uniform.
- While the Marlins have been busy with some notable lineup additions, the club hasn’t yet done much to their relief corps. GM Kim Ng told reporters (including The Miami Herald’s Craig Mish) that the bullpen market has been a bit slower in general, but now that the Marlins have finished some of the heavy lifting with their hitting upgrades, the pen will get more focus. Miami’s pen posted some pretty solid numbers in 2021, and the front office has already made one move by acquiring right-hander Louis Head in a trade with the Rays.