Over the last few days, trade talk has focused on Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran and Ubaldo Jimenez. However, other than Jimenez, there have been very few discussions about starting pitchers who could be moved by the deadline. Wandy Rodriguez has averaged a 3.8 WAR over the last two seasons and I have been surprised that his name has not come up frequently in these talks.
Peter Gammons tweeted yesterday that AL teams have been scared away by a transition to the AL from the NL. I have a hard time believing that Rodriguez would have trouble finding success in the AL. He has posted a 7.75 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9 and he has a 3.67 ERA (3.55 xFIP) despite pitching in a hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.
Since 2008, the 31-year-old left-hander has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the majors. His xFIP of 3.59 since 2008 is tied for 16th in baseball, which is better than Jimenez (3.73) and tied with Justin Verlander and Roy Oswalt. Gammons says that AL teams are wary about Rodriguez's performance and GMs fear that Rodriguez will fare about as well as Jeff Suppan did when the Red Sox acquired him from the Pirates in 2003.
The Jeff Suppan comparison is not a fair one. Suppan had a 4.98 K/9 before being traded, his xFIP of 4.08 indicated that he was due to regress and he had a 5.32 ERA when he pitched with the Royals the previous season.
Wandy probably won't pitch as well in the AL, but that does not mean he can not help an AL team like the Tigers in the rotation. There may be other reasons for the lack of discussion about his future after the deadline. His contract is higher than Jimenez's and he has a player option for 2014 with a $2.5 million buyout.
Furthermore, the Astros might be asking for an unreasonable package of major league-ready talent and prospects. A contract that has Rodriguez pitching at $14 million a year at 35 is concerning. The Suppan comparison seems like posturing by interested GMs looking to lower his value.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!