It’s not quite a done deal yet, but MLB.com’s Tom Singer brings word that the Pirates are “focusing their quest for pitching help” on Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and have “pulled the plug on other prospective deals” at the moment in order to concentrate on executing this one potential swap.
Rodriguez has posted a 3.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 89/32 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings this season for last-place Houston. The 33-year-old southpaw is owed $13 million in 2013 and carries a $13 million club option (with a $2.5 million buyout) for 2014. He’s making $10 million here in 2012.
The Bucs have been tied recently to left-hander Francisco Liriano of the Twins and Paul Maholm, who is currently with the Cubs but spent the first seven seasons of his major league career with Pittsburgh.
The Pirates entered play Tuesday night with a 54-41 record, ranking second in the National League Central.
UPDATE, 9:08 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that a trade has officially been agreed upon.
UPDATE, 9:33 PM: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says that Pirates outfield prospect Robbie Grossman is headed to the Astros in the deal. The 22-year-old former sixth-round pick is batting .262/.374/.403 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 94 games this season at the Double-A level. More to come.
UPDATE, 9:42 PM: According to Heyman, the Astros are also getting Rudy Owens, a 24-year-old left-hander with a 3.14 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 85/25 K/BB ratio in 19 starts this season at Triple-A, and Colton Cain, a 21-year-old southpaw with a 4.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 51/25 K/BB ratio in 16 starts this season at High-A.
UPDATE, 9:49 PM: CBS Sports’ Scott Miller adds that the Astros will be sending Pittsburgh “lots” of cash.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.