Wandy Rodriguez has worn the Astros uniform since breaking into the big leagues back in 2005. He is the only player left from the ’05 World Series team. Wandy has been a solid and consistent performer on the mound and I think he is grossly underrated. Over the last four seasons Rodriguez ranks in the top ten in almost every category among left-handed pitchers.
The possibility exists that Rodriguez could be traded before Opening Day. But I think the Astros would be wise to keep Wandy around for the next two seasons. Wandy has two years left on his current contract and will make $11 million this season and $13 million in 2013. That’s not a bad deal for a guy who pitches 200 innings a year and provides protection for the young up-and-coming arms in the Astros organization. Wandy should start the season as the Astros number 1 or 2 starter.
Wandy keeps hitters off-balance with a 12 to 6 curveball that makes his low nineties fastball look faster than it actually is. Last season was somewhat atypical for Rodriguez. Prior to 2011 his career numbers at home were much better than his road numbers. Wandy found more consistency on the road in 2011, holding opposition hitters to a .248 average in 17 road starts as opposed to a .256 average in 13 home starts. Wandy had a 7-7 record on the road and a 4-4 record at home. That’s pretty good considering the Astros 56-106 overall record. Although his ERA stayed on par with the three previous seasons, Wandy’s FIP jumped to 4.15 in 2011 after staying between 3.50 and 3.62 from ’08 to ’10. Rodriguez also saw his HR% jump to 13% last season after posting a sub-10% figure in each of the three previous years. In addition his strikeout rate was down and his walk rate went up slightly. Could these all be signs that Wandy has peaked and is starting to decline?
Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal may think Wandy has passed his prime. Luhnow has said he is not actively shopping Wandy but will listen to offers. A scientific decision could be on the horizon. Are Wandy’s days in Houston numbered? Maybe…