This weekend we saw a major deal sending Mat Latos to the Reds, which sent a ripple effect around MLB. It set the market for young, under long term control pitchers and might have helped Jeff Luhnow understand how to assess Wandy Rodriguez‘s value. A report out of the Boston Globe noted that the Astros are now willing to eat some of Rodriguez’s contract in a trade. At the winter meetings the thought was the Astros would not eat any part of his deal but this news might trigger the market for Wandy, which has been surprisingly quiet this winter. Luhnow can now open the bidding for Wandy to clubs that before were hesitant to pay his complete salary.
Wandy’s contract has been seen as a major albatross to most of the national media even though it’s basically in-line with his production over the past few seasons. That myth may be changing as the money handed out this winter for good but not great pitching made Rodriguez’s deal look like almost a bargain. If the Astros are willing to eat some of an already good deal they may be ready to get very serious about looking for Wandy’s next home. Adding the fact that this offseason has been a sellers market for starting pitchers and Luhnow may have picked the ideal time to release this interesting bit of information.
One team that has been linked to Wandy and makes a ton of sense even before this bit of news is the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have money to spend yet it appears free agents are using them as leverage which has left Washington in the trade market. They now appear as a strong possibility to acquire Wandy while willing to give up their top prospects outside of the obvious two, Harper and Strasburg. While not a great farm system, certainly a strong one with interesting fits for the Astros to choose from as they will undoubtedly look for young players in exchange.
Washington isn’t the only organization who will look a lot harder at Wandy now that his contract might be discounted. Texas, Miami and Boston each should have interest in the lefty and also interest the Astros to deal with. Each of those three clubs have something the Astros would gladly accept in return for Wandy, a 3B prospect. I’m sure in any trade this winter, the Astros will look for a third baseman to anchor the position for the near future. Another starting pitcher would also be welcomed in a return for Wandy but at least one impact prospect has to come in return. Given the fact the Astros are now willing to eat salary, not only is it expected but necessary for the Astros to get a great return for the 32 year old lefthander.