Pirates acquire Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez

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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.

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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.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.