Tomorrow afternoon is the deadline for the Rockies to work out a trade for Wandy Rodriguez after claiming him off waivers, but Astros general manager Ed Wade told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that he doesn’t expect a deal to happen:
I can’t make predictions. I don’t predict what could happen, but my gut tells me at this point there’s no reason to believe that Wandy will be pitching anywhere than wherever we’re playing in five days, which is Houston.
Breaking news: Ed Wade physically unable to make predictions. Or something.
Anyway, there was some speculation earlier this week that the Astros might simply let any team claiming Rodriguez have the 32-year-old southpaw and his remaining contract, but instead Wade is reportedly holding out for a significant return in addition to salary relief.
In the meantime Rodriguez is starting against the Rockies today, in Colorado, which is a weird situation to say the least. And he coughed up four runs in the first inning.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.