Yankees Free Agent Targets: Wandy Rodriguez
When the Pittsburgh Pirates released Wandy Rodriguez in May 2014, and subsequently not picked up throughout the year (even though he would only cost the league minimum salary), it seemed as though the serviceable starter’s career came to an end.
However, Rodriguez, the former long-time Houston Astro stalwart and Pirate, could put off collecting a pension if he’s willing to change his role. The 35 year-old lefty could potentially offer some inexpensive value as a LOOGY (lefty one out guy) if he’s looking for a comeback. Shortened roles have led to enhanced pitching careers as seen close-up this post-season as Kansas City Royals’ RP Wade Davis, once an average Tampa Bay Rays starter, became a dominant one inning reliever, no longer having to worry about pacing his energy.
Maybe this is the case with Rodriguez whose release was described by Pirate GM Neil Huntington, “The stuff, the command, the ability to get major league hitters out just wasn’t where we felt it needed to be compared to the other [starting] options that we have.” Huntington goes on to say that, “It’s not been the quality that Wandy is used to. The velocity is down a tick. The breaking ball is down a tick. The changeup doesn’t have the same confidence in it.” Rodriguez was recovering from knee inflammation this year, but was supposedly healed. He made six starts for Pittsburgh and finished with a record of 0-2 record and 6.75 ERA.
If his starter role changed to a one-out guy, could Rodriguez be counted on to get out David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton or Robinson Cano?
The Yanks have options in the minor leagues, and there are other left-handed relievers available, however, Wandy could be worth a minor league contract, and invitation to training camp as an insurance policy for the Yanks.