Nobody wants to see a guy lose his job, but for the Pittsburgh Pirates, they were given no choice when it came to veteran lefty Wandy Rodriguez. In a perfect world, the Bucs would have been able to give him more time to figure things out, but the team is quickly approaching desperation time. Every game means a ton from this point forward for the Pirates.
Based on how he pitched this season, it’s tough to see another team giving Rodriguez another chance. If this is the end for him, he will be able to look back on a very solid MLB career. The 35-year-old pitched 10 years in the big leagues, throwing 1,471 innings. He had a 4.06 career ERA, but was a mainstay in the front of the Houston Astros‘ rotation for many years.
The lefty spent 7.5 seasons with the Astros before being traded to the Pirates a few days before the trade deadline in 2012. With the Pirates, in just 164.1 innings over parts of three seasons, Rodriguez had a 4.16 ERA. He became a reliable mid-rotation starter for the Bucs after the trade, but pitched sparingly after the 2012 season. He pitched just 62.2 innings last season and 26.2 innings in 2014 before being designated for assignment.
As for this season, Rodriguez completely fell apart. Not only was he breaking down physically, but he lost all command of his pitches. In his 26.2 innings this season, Rodriguez posted a 6.75 ERA with 6.75 K/9 and 2.70 BB/9. He wasn’t walking many batters, but he was leaving his fastball way too high in the zone, allowing it to be crushed constantly, leading to his insanely high 3.38 HR/9.
Like I said, the Pirates had no choice but to cut ties with the lefty. They are on the hook for about $5 million remaining on his deal, but it is almost worth it to pay him to leave the rotation. As for who replaces him in the rotation, the Pirates say the top two candidates are lefty Jeff Locke and right-handed hurler Brandon Cumpton. If it were up to me, I would go with Cumpton.