May 31, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (51) throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds during the fourth inning at PNC Park. The Cincinnati Reds won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves have released veteran starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez after he failed to win a rotation spot out of Spring Training. Should the Rockies take a look?
He had a good spring with the Braves, starting six games and striking out 23 in 23 innings while allowing only 22 hits and eight walks. And he’s put up some decent numbers in the past for the Astros and Pirates, even though he’s dealt with injuries for much of the past two seasons.
The Rockies, of course, might need to look at their starting pitching depth – especially with left-handers – considering Jorge De La Rosa will already be out at least a few weeks and Eddie Butler is no sure thing to start the year with the club after his shoulder issue this week (though, of course, it depends how he throws on Saturday afternoon against the Mariners).
Believe me, I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it, too. Wandy Rodriguez is not the sexiest name out there when you’re looking for available starting pitching, especially to open the season.
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He’s a flyball pitcher, which doesn’t bode well for success at Coors Field.
He’s tossed an average of just 44.9% ground balls across his career.
His home run totals have spiked in recent years, too, and he allowed 3 in just 23 innings of spring work, as well.
But the 36-year old does have a track record of consistency when he’s on the field (which was very, very consistently until the past two seasons tripped him up). Maybe those two years are outliers, and he’s back on track to pitch a few more years. Or maybe those past two years are a harbinger of the end of his career, and he won’t be worth the risk.
But not for nothing, the Rockies have been very interested in Wandy Rodriguez in the past. I really liked Rodriguez in 2011 when the Rockies were on him, then. As an option in 2015, I don’t like him as much, considering what’s happened the last couple years.
But I’ve written before about Mike Pelfrey, and now Rodriguez; as we all know, the Rockies will never attract James Shields or Jon Lester. For a depth signing especially, guys like this are about as good as it’s going to get in Denver.
I doubt the Rockies go after Rodriguez considering his recent health history and tendency towards fly balls. Nevertheless, it’s worth following guys like him (and Pelfrey) because pitchers like that are the type of hold-the-line starters the Rockies could employ for a few months if somebody gets injured, or struggles, and the club decides not to push Gray or Butler too far, too fast.
Considering how well he threw this spring, and his track record in the big leagues before now, I’m sure somebody will give Wandy Rodriguez a chance on a minor league deal. With depth lefties like John Lannan already in our organization, though, it might not be the Rockies.