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.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.
I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:
Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.
Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.
I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.
Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.