Sep 16, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez (1) and catcher Jose Molina (28) point to their heads as they look at shortstop Nick Franklin (2) (not pictured) at first base after he hit a RBI single during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates are not in need of yet another infielder who can not hit for average. Despite this, the Pirates decided to make a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire utilityman Sean Rodriguez for the always popular player to be named later and cash on Monday.
This deal makes little to no sense for the Pirates because they have a player at every defensive position in the infield and the outfield is almost too full. While having someone who can come in late, as defensive replacement is not a bad thing, getting a player like Rodriguez could have happened at any time and doing it during the height of free agency is pretty much a waste of time.
The Pirates will likely have Josh Harrison at third, Jordy Mercer at short, Neil Walker at second and Pedro Alvarez at first. Rodriguez could spot one of these players later in the game, but starting him has to be out of the question unless Clint Hurdle gets extremely desperate. Rodriguez rarely puts the ball in play (.211 average, 12 homers, 41 RBI in 237 at-bats with Tampa Bay in 2014). One may argue he can hit a surprise home run here-and-there, but these kind of players are a dime a dozen. The good parts about this deal is that a player to be named later will be someone who does matter anyhow and Gaby Sanchez was designated for assignment
Fans had to hope there would be some bigger moves after the Pirates finished last season bowing out quietly to the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild card game, but with the offseason in December, this move does nothing to excite anyone.
Obviously, there is plenty of time remaining in free agency and the Winter Meetings are still to come, but if the Pirates continue along this path, there is no reason to believe the 2015 version of this team will be any better than the 2014 one.