The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to career utility man Sean Rodriguez on their 25-man roster despite the fact he serves the team no purpose
Last August, the Pittsburgh Pirates re-acquired Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves. With this move, Rodriguez returned to the Pirates after spending 2015 and 2016 with the team.
When Neal Huntington brought Rodriguez back to Pittsburgh it appeared he would bring a good veteran presence, strong defense, and a bench bat with power to the Pirates. After all, this is what he was for the Pirates in 2015 and 2016. However, he no longer serves any purpose on the Pirate roster.
After going 0-for-1 with a walk in the Pirates’ 9-3 loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night, Rodriguez owns a putrid slash line of .157/.289/.296/.585 this season. While he owns a healthy 14.8% walk rate, he has struck out in an ungodly 31.3% of his at bats and his power has been nonexistent as his ISO has plummeted to .139 after being .175 the previous three seasons.
Rodriguez’s defense has also suffered this season. Throughout his career he has been a strong defensive player, but that has not been the case through the first three months of the 2018 season.
When looking at Rodriguez’s defensive runs saved (DRS), he has struggled at both third base and in the outfield this season. He owns a DRS of -1 both at the hot corner and in the outfield, while at second base and first base his DRS is 0.
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His biggest defensive woes have come at shortstop. After committing an error that led to a Diamondback run on Thursday night Rodriguez owns an abysmal .929 fielding percentage at shortstop this season and a -1.6 UZR/150.
At this point Rodriguez is making the Major League team worse both with his play and by blocking players at Triple-A that are more deserving of a 25-man roster spot.
Sooner rather than later Jung Ho Kang is going to return to the Major Leagues. After a slow start at Triple-A he is 7 for his last 11 with two walks and a double. At this point, he deserves a roster spot more than Rodriguez does.
There is also one of the team’s top prospects in shortstop Kevin Newman. Entering Friday night’s game in which he went 1-for-3, Newman owned a .341 wOBA and a 115 wRC+ at Triple-A while slashing .309/.363/.386/.749. While the power has yet to come for Newman, he is getting on base and can’t possibly be worse than Rodriguez. He has also earned the right to be in the Major Leagues at this point.
There is no longer any reason for Sean Rodriguez to be on the Pirate roster. And it is beyond time for the team to designate him for assignment. Especially with what the team has at Triple-A in terms of infield depth.