By: Mike Meltser
After months of rumors and speculation, the Astros finally gave Wandy Rodriguez the deal he wanted. The 32-year-old lefthander will earn $34 million over the next 3 years, avoiding another round of arbitration with the team. Given that the team is rebuilding, did Ed Wade make the right move?
For me, the answer is yes. I’ll discuss more in depth Wednesday morning at 10am, but I’ve always believed that you need quality veterans in baseball. Going with 100% young players makes it very hard to compete over 162 games. Wade has two good, medium-aged pitchers in Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. Building a young lineup around a veteran 1-2 punch in the rotation makes sense.
Let’s take a look at the last 2 seasons for Wandy:
- 2009: 14-12, 3.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 205 2/3 IP, 192 hits, 193 K’s
- 2010: 11-12, 3.60 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 195 IP, 183 hits, 178 K’s
While the record isn’t great, let’s keep in mind that Rodriguez is pitching for a mediocre/bad baseball team. He eats innings and has a good amount of strikeouts, without allowing a large number of hits.
Having a left-handed starter with the ability to eat up innings (averaging 200 over the last 2 seasons) and pitch well is a rare commodity. The elite pitchers in baseball (CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Cliff Lee types) make around $22-24 million a season. Wandy will be making about half, so the salary and overall contract is fair.
Bottom line: even with a rebuilding team, you need to try and compete on a daily basis. Having Rodriguez at the front of your rotation will give the Astros a shot to win almost every game he’s on the mound. This contract extension gets the thumbs up from me.