Pittsburgh Pirates: Attempting to Construct a Realistic Off-Season

What would a realistic looking off-season for the Pirates look like?

Sep 27, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) delivers
Sep 27, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) delivers / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
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Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez is going into the off-season with a player option, and I’ve previously mentioned him as a player to watch this off-season with his pending decision. But it looks as if Rodriguez will be heading back into free agency. Multiple rumors suggest that he’ll turn down a three-year/$49 million contract and look for another team. If and when Rodriguez does become an unrestricted free agent, the Pirates should heavily consider him for their rotation.

Rodriguez is coming off a solid rebound campaign that saw him work to a 3.30 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP. Rodriguez’s 23% strikeout rate was above the league average but slightly below his career average. However, his 7.7% walk rate was better than both the league and his career average. Rodriguez had an 0.88 HR/9 rate, which was the best rate of his career. Granted, he did play a full season in the extremely home-run unfriendly Comerica Park.

Rodriguez was good at limiting hard contact. He was in the 58th percentile of exit velocity (88.6 MPH), barrel rate (7.5%), and the 54th percentile of hard hit rate (38.5%). What is noteworthy about his Baseball Savant page is that this was the first season his fastball, breaking ball, and off-speed pitch all were in the 60th+ percentile of pitch value.

In my opinion, Rodriguez is not looking for a significant more amount of money but more years. If he opts into his current contract, he’ll be making $49 million across three seasons, which is an AAV of $16.33 million. But he will become a free agent at 33 years old, a sort of gray area for baseball players. I think he’ll look to secure a deal that will carry him through at least his age-35 season, which would be a five-year deal, at the very least. I don’t think he’ll get a significant raise either, but $18 million a year for a quality #2 starting pitcher seems about right.

Total Spent: $23 million