Wandy Rodriguez, who was acquired on July 24th, has yet to impress. The Pirates were hoping for an experienced veteran who could turn in solid performances each start, but have received four subpar outings. The 33 year old southpaw is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA for the Bucs. He has struck out 12 while walking eight; opponents are hitting .297 off of him.
Here’s a look at his four starts as a Bucco:
– Wandy’s Pirates debut came against his former club, the Houston Astros, on July 28th. He gave up three runs over six innings, but his command was shaky. Rodriguez threw 57 strikes out of 103 pitches, and walked five batters. The Buccos went on to win the game, 4-3.
– His next outing was August 3rd vs. Cincinnati. Wandy allowed an inside the park home run and a homer to the pitcher, Mat Latos. He didn’t pitch poorly – three runs over seven innings – but didn’t receive any run support. The Pirates fell 3-0, and Andrew McCutchen was drilled by Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning.
– Rodriguez faced the D-backs in his home debut on the 9th of August, and he simply wasn’t sharp. He surrendered four runs in six innings, including two home runs. The Bucs lost 6-3 and split the series.
– Wandy was even worse on Wednesday vs. Los Angeles, as he lasted only 5.2 innings. The Dodgers smacked 10 hits and scored five runs. Rodriguez was also criticized for not running out a ground ball. The Pirates were pounded, 9-3, and lost their third consecutive game.
His performance began slipping at the end of May. He had a 2.14 ERA after his first 10 starts, but allowed 11 runs in his next two starts combined. This elevated his earned run average a full run to 3.14. In 11 outings from May 28th to July 23rd, Wandy went 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA. His final three starts as an Astro were concerning, as he gave up four, five, and three runs, respectively.
From the other side of the deal, the Bucs sent Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman, and Colton Cain to Houston in exchange for Rodriguez. Owens is 0-2 with a 5.33 ERA for the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Similarly, Cain is 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA for the Lancaster Jethawks. Grossman has done well and is hitting .316 with five doubles, two triples, and a home run in 20 games for the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Rodriguez helps for the future, as he is under contract for next season and has an option for 2014. However, he’s not very cheap. Although the Astros are picking up a portion of the deal, the Pirates will still owe him $8 million in 2013. For comparison, Erik Bedard, who is 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA, was signed for one year and $4.5 million. While Wandy should easily beat those numbers, he’s similar at 7-12 with a 4.06 ERA. The numbers are close, but his money for next season is nearly double that of Bedard’s 2012 contract. Rodriguez will be 34 next season, so age isn’t exactly on his side.
The trade wasn’t exactly “all in”; they weren’t overpaying for Zack Greinke (traded to Angels) or Cole Hamels (re-signed by Phillies). However, Wandy is still expected to put up solid numbers and compete every start. He needs to start producing and show he’s worth the money. The Pirates didn’t give up a ton for him, but they’re still decent prospects that could make their way to Houston.
The rotation is still to be determined for the San Diego series, but Rodriguez will likely pitch Tuesday or Wednesday. They may want A.J. Burnett to pitch Tuesday on his fifth day, so he’d get pushed to Wednesday. Either way, hopefully Wandy turns in a fine outing and changes for the better.