Sean Rodriguez does not need to produce offensively
Sean Rodriguez was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in December of 2014. As I set about becoming more familiar with him, I recalled being surprised and intrigued by his 12 HR and 41 RBI in only 96 games in 2014. My thoughts drifted towards Rodriguez being a hybrid defensive specialist/pinch-hitter. I took notice of his light-hitting career slash of .225/.297/.372 but somehow talked myself into looking only at those power and RBI numbers.
Then I looked at bit further and saw a ton of things I didn’t like. His 27% K-rate. His paltry 2014 .OBP of .258. Those power and RBI numbers I talked myself into a lather about? I absolutely cannot explain it, as Rodriguez had a .BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of only .235. The guy had an amazingly lucky year in 2014, it seems.
As I type this, the Pirates are playing the Blue Jays yet again in Dunedin. Sean Rodriguez exited the game after an o-for-3 day, striking out twice and leaving two Bucs on base. Taking everything I’ve just said into account, we as Pirate fans need to do some soul-searching and ask ourselves: What do we really need from Rodriguez?
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His lackluster 2015 spring thus far pretty much answers the question for us, and the answer is definitely not offense. No, we need Sean Rodriguez to be exactly what he is billed as: a multi-position wunderkind that can provide days off for our often-overworked infield. Rodriguez also seems very ill-fitted for a pinch-hitter role, as his career .AVG and .OBP will attest to. He seems to be in a weird sort of limbo between reliable bench player and Quad-A type of player. I firmly believe that if he did not have such ability to play multiple positions that he would not be a Pittsburgh Pirate.
But in the end, that’s quite alright. This team has more than enough offensive firepower to go around. If Sean Rodriguez can provide excellent defense, both in fill-in days for regulars and late-inning scenarios, then we as fans should be happy with that.