Lost in the cloud of dust created by three sub .300 OBP players being traded, was news that Houston Astros pitcher (for the time being) Wandy Rodriguez was claimed off waivers by the now Kevin Kouzmanoffull Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies reportedly have until Thursday to work out a deal for the 32 year old southpaw whose contract guarantees him at least $25.5 million dollars for 2012 and 2013 if he’s moved as part of a straight waiver claim. If he’s traded, his team option for 2014 kicks in, and Rodriguez will be guaranteed $36 million through to 2014.
It’s an interesting choice for the Rockies, desperate for starting pitching after selling high(ish) on Ubaldo Jiminez (how’s that working out for you, Cleveland?). Ultimately though, I think it’s a good gamble assuming that the quality of the player(s) that Colorado gives up isn’t too steep.
After C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and possibly C.C. Sabathia, the list of free agent pitchers hitting the open market this offseason isn’t exactly awe inspiring. A team in need of starting pitching can be forgiven for picking up a big contract in this instance because trading for Rodriguez is the equivalent of signing him to a three year contract for $36 million.
Given the lack of depth for free agent starters, Rodriguez would likely command more than that this offseason. Even during this season, likely the worst of his last three, he’ll end up outperforming his salary in terms of dollars / WAR based on free agent signings.
While desperation is never a good justification for anything. In taking a chance on Wandy Rodriguez, the Rockies may be making the safest desperation play available.