Wandy Rodriguez has established himself as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball. Notice that I didn’t qualify that statement by saying “best lefthander” or “best pitcher on a non-contending team.” So, I’ll say it again: Wandy Rodriguez is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He has the statistics to prove it and, if you’ve watched him pitch, you’ve seen numerous batters walking back to the bench with befuddle looks upon their faces.
Wandy appears to pitch with reckless abandon. He’s the epitome of unpredictability. He’ll drop a curveball at the drop of a hat… for, what appears to be, no particular reason at all. Well, there is a reason: Wandy is a surgeon. Wandy is calculating. Wandy knows exactly what hitters are expecting… and, truth be told, the only thing National League hitters have expected from Wandy is for him to do the unexpected. Hitters need to step into the box pretending each pitch is 0-0 because Wandy doesn’t generally set up hitters the same way other pitchers will.
Wandy had a 2.97 ERA before two bad outings against Pittsburgh and Florida pushed him up to 3.52. Its reasonable to assume Wandy is going to finish 2011 with numbers at or around 2010 and 2009’s numbers.
As the Astros are currently the worst team in Major League Baseball, the biggest question regarding Wandy is: What contending team will Wandy be suiting up for after the trade deadline. Everyone is talking about it! Will Wandy be traded to the Rockies, Yankees or Tigers? Hackensack Bulls?
Why does Wandy HAVE to be traded? I get it. The Astros should continue rebuilding. The Astros need to cash in all their tradable chips and start growing some guys in the minor leagues. I get it.
But couldn’t Wandy be a productive Astro for several more years? After this year, Wandy has two more years on his deal and an option for 2014. In 2014, he’ll be 35. Is it possible for Wandy to still be on his game at 35? Is it even likely that he’s not? Wandy isn’t a guy who is going to overpower guys with 95+ mph heat… it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Wandy can pitch for another 6 or 7 years.
I don’t see why Ed Wade needs to go into the deadline in fire sale mode, especially when trade speculation revolves around one of the MLBs best pitchers who is contractually obligated for another two years. Wouldn’t contending team GMs would most likely smell blood in the water, if they knew Ed Wade HAD to trade Wandy Rodriguez? Wandy is NOT a player that this organization can afford to trade for pennies on the dollar.
Ed Wade must ask himself, what is going to help the Astros in the long term? Wandy Rodriguez or what Wandy can yield in a trade?
Wade needs to hang up the phone on any GM not willing to go above and beyond the haul Oswalt brought. If there are no teams willing to overpay for Rodriguez, then, fine, the Astros will keep one of the best pitchers in MLB until someone wants him bad enough. The ball is in Ed’s court and I hope he realizes that. If a contending team comes to Wade and offers him a king’s ransom for Wandy, then Ed should give them the time of day… but otherwise, trading for the sake of trading doesn’t make much sense for Wandy Rodriguez.
And lastly, as I’ve said before, I don’t believe we should consider an Astros firesale to be a slam dunk when we’re not sure where Jim Crane stands on Ed Wade’s personnel decisions. If Crane intends on firing Wade at season’s end, would he have enough faith in Wade to allow him to trade some of the Astros high-yield trade chips?