Colin Dunlap: Pirates Got This One Right
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Good on the Pirates.
In this instance, at least, good on the Pirates.
The club got it right when it was evident that Wandy was oh-so wrong.
The Pirates on Thursday designated left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez for assignment, less than 24 hours after a(nother) horrific showing wherein he didn’t get out of the second inning, made a terrible error, gave up a(nother) home run and struck out no one.
The final tally for the 35-year-old Rodriguez in his two-plus seasons in Pittsburgh: an 11-10 record, 166 hits yielded in 164 innings, 28 home runs allowed and a 4.16 ERA.
Or another way to look at it: In the long, venerable history of the Pirates, Ross Ohlendorf won two more games than Wandy Rodriguez.
While it seems to be an obvious move to send Wandy packing, this is an instance where the Pirates should be mildly applauded, if for nothing more than they haven’t always made the obvious move.
No one needs a refresher tutorial on the on-going saga of highly-touted outfield prospect Gregory Polanco, who is being held up in Class AAA Indianapolis despite continued incredible output.
Polanco is still in Indianapolis for what clearly are financial reasons.
End of story.
He’s one of the best 25 players in the Pirates’ organization and he should be here.
With Rodriguez, however, the Pirates elected to take a hit on the remainder of the $7.5 million they owe the pitcher this season for the sake of certifying the best 25 players are in a Pirates uniform.
They shouldn’t be applauded too raucously, but make no mistake, they should be applauded. It hasn’t been since 2008 — when the Pirates released pitcher Matt Morris after just five starts and ate the $11M they owed him — that the club was willing to ship someone so pricey away for no return on the remaining dollars they owed him.
There is a line of thinking by some that it could have been logical — considering the guaranteed money still owed Rodriguez — to have kept him around. That the Pirates should have sent Rodriguez to the bullpen, perhaps tried to work through a way for him to reinvent himself or, in one of baseball’s oldest guiles, come to an agreement with Rodriguez on some phantom injury he was suffering through and tried to work through his improvement on a disabled list stint.
Some argue one of those options is the best way to bleed all you can out of your investment.
It might be. And, Lord knows, Bob Nutting knows how to bleed all he can out of his investments.
But keeping Rodriguez around is also an imprudent way to do business when your baseball team is 19-26 and showing few signs of getting much better.
From this vantage, you can’t go wrong when the baseline you work off as a baseball team is to have your best 25 players in the system at the big league level.
With Polanco, that isn’t happening because money is the unquestioned hold-up.
And it is a sham and a shame.
As it pertains to Wandy Rodriguez, it was nice to see the Pirates go in the opposite direction. That is to say, they didn’t let the money get in the way of having their best pitchers in Pittsburgh.
Or, at least, someone better than Wandy Rodriguez.
Good on them.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.