Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Could Help Yankees’ Struggling Bullpen

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(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates’ current closer Richard Rodriguez has been rumored to be a part of trade talks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates seem pretty likely to trade closer Richard Rodriguez. The thought is to go to a contending team that is looking to bolster their bullpen. Rodriguez is a top-pitching trade target and it wouldn’t be surprising if the organization moves on from him before Saturday’s deadline.

The Yankees displayed why they could use the Pittsburgh Pirates’ right-hander during a matchup with the AL East-leading Red Sox on Sunday. Yankee pitcher Domingo German was pitching a no-hitter into the 8th inning and was pulled, then Boston followed up with a five-run 8th inning off of right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga. Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman have been blowing save opportunities and games in the late stages too, not to mention extra innings.

Rodriguez has provided the Pirates with a reliable arm in 2021 to finish games with a win. In 37 appearances, Richard is 4-2 with 14 saves and 33 strikeouts, all over 38.1 innings pitched. Rodriguez’s value to other teams will be an arm to come out of the bullpen and pitch through the 7th or 8th inning, like a setup role. Although the Yankees bullpen has been slightly better than other teams that could target the 31-year old, New York is down three bullpen arms and seven total pitchers, so this move would make sense.

Compared to current Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman, Rodriguez has a better ERA, more innings pitched, fewer blown saves, and a lesser opponent batting average. Now obviously I’m not saying Rodriguez is better than Chapman but compared to some of their other options he is either better or fairly close to all in multiple categories.

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Rodriguez is a veteran arm that can help the Yankees try and contend once players like Aaron Judge, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino, and Kyle Higashioka return from the Covid-19 list and IL. Also, he is controllable through next season. So he would be a cheap, but effective arm for them to be able to rely on next year.

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