Sean Rodriguez, whom the Rays designated for assignment last week, has been traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later and cash. And to make room on the roster Pittsburgh designated for assignment Gaby Sanchez.
Pittsburgh is committed to the left-handed-hitting Pedro Alvarez at first base in 2015 and the right-handed-hitting Sanchez could have stuck around to platoon with him, but the Pirates felt his projected $2.7 million arbitration salary was too much for that role (and/or they prefer Rodriguez).
Rodriguez brings a lot of defensive versatility to the table as a utility man and can hit left-handed pitching pretty well, but he’s been terrible versus right-handed pitching and is a career .225 hitter with a .670 OPS overall. He’s projected to make around $2 million via arbitration for 2015, after which Rodriguez will be a free agent.
Sanchez struggled this year, hitting .229 with seven homers and a .679 OPS in 123 games. He’s a career .254 hitter with a .744 OPS, including .291 with an .863 OPS versus lefties, so at the very least the 31-year-old Sanchez will find a part-time role elsewhere.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.