Pittsburgh Pirates SP Wandy Rodriguez left Wednesday’s start against the Atlanta Braves after just 14 pitches. Rodriguez had a 3.47 ERA in 62.1 innings in 2013 before the injury. Wandy was cemented as the team’s number two starter, behind A.J. Burnett, and those two had done a great job anchoring the starting rotation. If Rodriguez’s injury proves to be serious, the Pirates will need to consider making a drastic move. Rodriguez – if placed – would be the fifth Pirate starter currently on the disabled list, and – though Charlie Morton is returning soon – they cannot fill the final four rotation spots with back-end talent.
There are two obvious potential moves for the Pirates. The most logical one is to promote top prospect Gerrit Cole. Cole, however, would definitely be on an innings count and would only be so helpful to the major league club. Though his promotion would be a spark to the club and fans, he stands little chance to actually replace Rodriguez’s production.
The other alternative is to acquire a front-end starter from outside of the organization. In early June, there are few pitchers available. The Chicago Cubs starters could likely be available – if the Pirates wanted to acquire Edwin Jackson or Scott Feldman. If the Pirates wanted to aim higher, they could attempt to acquire Tim Lincecum or Cliff Lee. This is all rampant speculation, and it is very much unlike the Pirates to make a big splash.
The Pirates can remain hopeful that Rodriguez’s injury is not serious. But if he is out for an extended period of time, they will need to replace a high level of production quickly.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.