Monday, December 1, 2014

Sean Rodriguez Newest Buc Bench Infielder; Gaby Gets DFA'ed

In a MLB chain reaction, utility man Sean Rodriguez, 29 (he'll be 30 in April), is moving north to Pittsburgh. It all started when Bucco bust Ernesto Frieri was signed by Tampa Bay; that led to Rodriguez being DFA'ed to clear roster space. That, in turn, has led to Gaby Sanchez being DFA'ed for the same reason. Tampa Bay will receive cash and a PTBNL for Rodriguez, while the Bucs have until midnight tomorrow (his tender date for arb) to shop Gaby before he becomes a FA.

Sean Rodriguez (photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
In his seven years, Rodriguez has posted a .225/.298/.372 slash. Last year he hit just .211 with a .258 OBP, but did bash 12 HRs in 259 PA. Steamer has him projected for a .224/.283/.368 slash, more in line with his career norms.

The Tampa IF'er made $1.475M last season. This is his final arb year, and he's probably looking at a $2M deal.Rodriguez had spent five years in Tampa Bay, serving as the team's utility dude after starting off with the Angels for parts of two campaigns.

He's done everything but pitch and catch for the Rays, and he seems to be more in the mold of Josh Harrison than Clint Barmes (Rodriguez only played one game at short last year; he mostly manned the corners). No problem there; the Pirates have locked up the market on AAAA back-up infielders, stocking up on potentially cheaper alternatives to Barmes.

Rodriguez looks as if he'll get to see time all over the lot as the RH fill-in. Last year, his splits were pretty miserable, hitting .221 v LHP and just .200 against same-siders. His career line is a little better, with a .247/.221 gap, but certainly not strong enough to consider him a lefty-basher. Gaby's lifetime average against southpaws is .291 (though it was only .256 last year). So the Bucs are gaining a few dollars trimmed off the payroll (Gaby was projected to earn $2.7M) and some more versatility while giving up some offense.

It's just a little more minor wheelin' and dealing going on around the edges of the club. The team was pretty well set in the field; now to see some action on those pitchers.


WilliamJPellas said...

Weeellll....I'm not entirely in agreement with you here, Ron. Rodriguez will do fine as, essentially, the replacement for Jay Hay in the utility infielder role. Acquiring him probably means that the Pirates now view Harrison as a starter or at least, if he continues to play multiple positions, as a guy who will get starter's at bats. Thus the need for a new infield utilityman.

However: even though Gaby Sanchez had a poor season in 2014, I don't think there's any question that he is a significantly better hitter than Rodriguez, overall (though Rodriguez can hit a few longballs from time to time). I would have to think that another RH-hitting first baseman is on the Pirates' radar. Surely they can't be thinking that Rodriguez is a suitable platoon partner at first for Pedro, can they?

Ron Ieraci said...

For sure, Will - Rodriguez is meant to take J-Hay's bench spot on the corners and at second if needed. SS will go to one of the other guys. And yep, Gaby is a better hitter; S-Rod is better at being Clint Hurdle's handyman off the bench. And they may spot start Rodriguez at first, I think, but unless there's a deal in the cards, Pedro is gonna be the everyday, all-the-time 1B even with his .196 lifetime LHP BA.

WilliamJPellas said...

NO to Pedro as the 1B against southpaws. No, no, no. They need another RH bat, preferably a 1B who can play a little at the OF corners (and maybe at 3B, too).