Pittsburgh Pirates: Free Agent Left Handed Relief Options

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 19: Matt Strahm #55 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 19, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 19: Matt Strahm #55 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 19, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Sep 18, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports /

Joely Rodriguez

Joely Rodriguez signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for $55,000 in 2009 and has gone on quite the journey since then. He spent this past season in the Big Apple with the Mets, posting a 4.47 ERA and 3.23 FIP across 50.1 innings, while striking out 57 batters. He was an important part of the Mets’ bullpen, behind elite closer Edwin Diaz, pitching the vast majority of his innings in the 7th & 8th inning.

Rodriguez posted a 26.4% strikeout rate to go with a 53.8% ground-ball rate, which ranked in the top 25 of relievers with at least 40 innings pitched. Rodriguez excels at limiting contact. Batters had an 85.3 mph average exit velocity against him, which ranks in the top 96 percentile per Baseball-Savant.

Rodriguez primarily throws a sinker and change-up, with his sinker averaging around 93 mph. He uses both pitches effectively to limit hard contact, both carrying a slugging % of around .300, with the change-up carrying a 38.5% whiff rate. He also throws a 4-seem and slider, though not as often.

Rodriguez would be a great addition to the bullpen as both a left-handed reliever and late-inning guy that can setup for David Bednar. He is also from the Dominican Republic and would join several other Dominican players on the Pirates’ roster, including many young and up-and-coming pitchers that the veteran could provide valuable leadership for. If the price is right, the Pirates should jump on this one.

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