Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Team’s Best Trade Chips

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Jacob Stallings #58 after closing out the game 6-3 during interleague play at PNC Park on June 22, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Jacob Stallings #58 after closing out the game 6-3 during interleague play at PNC Park on June 22, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 6
Next
Jun 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Richard Rodriguez (48) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Richard Rodriguez (48) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Number 3 – relief pitcher Richard Rodríguez

There will be few relievers on the market more coveted this trade season than Richard Rodríguez. This season Rodríguez has emerged as the closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. While being a ‘closer’ is overrated, it is something that teams will value on the trade market due to Rodríguez’s experience pitching in high-leverage situations.

Rodríguez has pitched 30.1 innings in 29 outings this season. The righty owns a 1.78 ERA, 2.09 FIP and a pristine 2.4% walk rate. While his 24.5% strikeout rate is the second lowest of his four-year Pirate career, it is still better than league average.

So far this season Rodríguez has also done a good job of overcoming the biggest bugaboo he has had in his career – the long ball. Rodríguez has allowed just 1 home run this season, coming out to a home run rate of 0.30 HR/9. This is, by far, the lowest home run rate of his career. The past two seasons he has had a home run rate of 1.16 HR/9 and 1.93 HR/9. His previous career low was a 0.65 HR/9 in 2018.

It would be a major surprise if the Pittsburgh Pirates do not trade Rodríguez between now and the July 30 trade deadline. He can pitch in high leverage situations for a contender and has a multi-year track record of pitching well in this role. Also, as Robert Murray discussed on Rum Bunter Radio, the Pirates came very close to trading Rodríguez to the San Diego Padres in the offseason.