3 days until the Pittsburgh Pirates hold their first spring workout

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Sean Rodriguez
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Sean Rodriguez /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired utility man Sean Rodriguez from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later in December of 2014. This player to be named later would become pitcher Buddy Borden.

Following the 2015 season, Rodriguez signed a new one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Pirates. The 2016 season would be the best of his Major League career. Rodriguez posted career highs in on-base percentage (.339), slugging percentage (.510), wOBA (.363), and wRC+ 128 in 2016. His 18 home runs and 1.8 fWAR in 2016 were also career highs.

Despite the Pirates’ best efforts to retain Rodriguez, he signed with the Atlanta Braves following the 2016 season. The Braves and Rodriguez agreed to a two-year, $11.5 million contract prior to the start of the 2017 season.

After missing the first three months of the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury suffered in an off-season car accident, he was traded back to the Pirates from the Braves for infield prospect Connor Joe in August of 2017.

In his first game back with the Pirates, Rodriguez hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning of a 5-4 extra innings victory over the San Diego Padres. However, Rodriguez would then go on to struggle over the course of the rest of the season.

During his three seasons as a Pirate Sean Rodriguez has played every position but catcher. He has become beloved in the Pirate clubhouse as being a fiery, passionate leader. This was on display in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game when he was at the center of the Pirate and Cub benches clearing, and we all remember what happened to the Gatorade cooler after that.

Next: PECOTA projections for the 2018 Pirates

Looking ahead to 2018, Sean Rodriguez will have an opportunity to grab a starting role in the Pirate outfield heading into the regular season. His best role, though, is the super utility role he has had the past few seasons. Look for Rodriguez to once again do a little bit of everything for the Pirates in 2018.

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