The Pirates have shut Wandy Rodriguez down for the season

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The Pirates have shut down starter Wandy Rodriguez for the remainder of the year, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune. Rodriguez has been dealing with arthritis in his left elbow. He threw a 67-pitch simulated game on Thursday, but that was all the Pirates needed to see to make their decision.

Biertempfel also tweeted that Rodriguez is refusing to receive a cortisone injection, but is considering a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Rodriguez hasn’t pitched since leaving in the first inning on June 5 against the Braves. His season ends with a 3.59 ERA in 62.2 innings spanning 12 starts. The Pirates have a $13.5 million option and a $2.5 million buy-out left on Rodriguez’s contract to consider for the 2014 season. Part of that $13.5 million, $5.5 million to be exact, would be paid by the Astros, who traded Rodriguez to Pittsburgh on July 24 last year.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.