Bucs acquire Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and cash from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.

The 33-year-old Rodriguez went 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA (130.2ip/55er) and 89 strikeouts in 21 starts for the Astros this year. Prior to his July 18 start with Houston, Rodriguez pitched at least 5.0 or more innings in 48 straight starts, which was the longest active streak in the National League and the third-longest in the Majors behind C.C. Sabathia (76 games) and Justin Verlander (71 games).

"Wandy Rodriguez is a quality starting pitcher and we are pleased to add him to our club," said Huntington. "Wandy has quietly ranked among the upper echelon of Major League starting pitchers the last three seasons in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts among other categories. We believe he will be a solid addition to our rotation for the remainder of this season and beyond."

Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Rodriguez trails only Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels among all National League southpaws in strikeouts (626) and wins (43). Overall in Major League Baseball since 2009, Rodriguez ranks 21st in strikeouts and 25th in ERA (3.44).

Rodriguez has posted at least 10 wins four times since breaking into the big leagues in 2005 with Houston, including a career-high 14 wins in 2009. At the time of the trade, he ranked first all-time in Astros history among lefthanders in strikeouts (1093) and second in wins (80).

"We talked since Day One of the trading season about wanting to improve our club either via pitching or via hitting," Huntington said. "The pitching market turned out to be more flexible than the hitting market and we decided this was the right move for us."

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle believes Rodriguez will be helped by a change of scenery.

"I'm sure a change of clubhouses for him, a change of the dynamic of being in a situation (a pennant race) he hasn't been in for three or four years should be helpful," Hurdle said. "I've prepared for him for many years as a manager and as a coach. He has also been a tough pitcher to hit, a tough pitcher to beat. I'm very happy that we're adding him to our rotation."

Rodriguez received a contract extension before what would have been his final year before free agency in 2011 and is owed roughly $4 million for the rest of this season and $13 million next season. The obstacle to trading him had been in part the $13 million club option for 2014 that becomes a player option if traded, essentially guaranteeing Rodriguez $30 million over the life of the deal on another team.

The Astros will pay roughly $12 million of that assuming Rodriguez exercises the 2014 player option, according to reports out of Pittsburgh.

Rodriguez's next start had been scheduled to come against the Pirates at Minute Maid Park Saturday and he might come out of the other dugout and pitch against the Astros instead.

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