MLB Trade Rumors: Are the Toronto Blue Jays Looking to Add a Starting Pitcher?

Jeff WahlCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 17:  Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Minute Maid Park on July 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has been arguably the busiest MLB Executive leading up to the July 31st trade deadline.  He's been linked to a who's who of high profile trade targets from Heath Bell to B.J. Upton to Ubaldo Jimenez.

Adding to that list is Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports who recently posted that Anthopoulos was pursuing Houston Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez:

"Cashman, Epstein, the Rays’ Andrew Friedman and Rangers’ Jon Daniels are among the GMs who explore just about every deal imaginable; you can connect them to virtually any available player and rarely be wrong.

Alex Anthopoulos, join the club.

Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays’ GM, has inquired on Padres closer Heath Bell, according to major-league sources. He is in on Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, according to several reports. And he even is pursuing Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez sources say."

Although not a true ace, Rodriguez has pitched very well since his emergence as a front end starter in 2008.  The main issue with any trade begins and ends with his contract.

Signed through to 2013, Rodriguez is being paid $7 million this season, $10 million next season and $13 million for 2013.  Also, if traded his player option for $13 million in 2014 kicks in automatically.  That's a tough pill to swallow for a pitcher who'll be 33 next January and 35 once his deal expires.

According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated the Astros are aggressively shopping Rodriguez, however, "one competing executive said, 'They might have to pay half (of Rodriguez's contract) to trade him.' He has $39 million to go through 2014 since the option for '14 becomes a player option if he is traded."

If that's the case, then Toronto could get a significant discount in an exchange with Houston, if Anthopoulos is willing to pay close to, if not all of Rodriguez's contract. Perhaps a package of Jo Jo Reyes, Jesse Litsch and Brad Mills would suffice.

Having said that, what would Toronto need to relinquish if Houston is indeed willing to pay a significant portion of Rodriguez's contract and make him a $7-8.5 million player for the duration of the deal?  I'd have to think that Zach Stewart would be included along with another pitcher like Nestor Molina or Drew Hutchison.

That's a steep price for a pitcher on the wrong side of 30 years of age with a career hit rate of 9.0 H/9 (hits per nine innings) and a .260 BAA (batting average against). This is all a bit disconcerting considering that he plays in the pitcher friendly NL Central. The AL East is a completely different animal.

Nonetheless, if Wandy Rodriguez does get dealt to Toronto he would instantly become our No. 2 starter.  At that point our rotation would consist of Ricky Romero, Rodriguez, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil and eventually Kyle Drabek.  Much like the Yunel Escobar deal last year, Toronto could make a significant addition without giving up too much in return.

What's your take, is the possibility of adding Wandy Rodriguez appealing?


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