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.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.