So, it appears that Wandy Rodriguez‘s success is starting to translate into phone calls for Jeff Luhnow. In this week’s edition of Jason Stark’s Rumblings and Grumblings it was pointed out that teams are starting to contact the Stros and Wandy is a major point of the conversation. I fully expected this to happen and the Stros to listen very intently. Wandy has been nothing short of brilliant so far this season and considering his track record these last few seasons, the time has finally arrived for the Stros front office to cash in their big chip. With clubs like the Red Sox, Yankees and others looking for starting pitching even at this early stage of the season, suitors shouldn’t be an issue for Wandy. As always, some scouts say he still isn’t any more than a 4th starter and others say his contract will kill his value, regardless, it will take exactly one team to fall in love with the guy and two to create a bidding war. That, I’m sure, would make the Stros’ front office smile from ear to ear.
“He’s a No. 2 starter at times,” one NL scout said. “But for me, what you’re really getting is a fourth starter on a good team who can throw a curveball. Unfortunately, if you look at his paycheck, he’s getting paid like a No. 2. And that’s a problem.”
The one problem that seems to constantly pop up when talking about dealing Wandy has been his contract. Ill-advised as it was by Ed Wade, it still surprises me to hear so many people killing his contract when we see a ton of irresponsible signings each winter. Wandy isn’t an ace and I’m sure Luhnow knows that but shopping as one is smart. When the time comes, I don’t see how the Stros don’t eat half of his deal given how Wandy is perceived by Luhnow and other clubs. I think sending him to an AL East club or even AL team in general might make it tough to sell him as an ace but sending him to an NL club would certainly give him a better chance to be a good reliable number 2. Ultimately, it will depend on how the market develops and who is available as to whether Wandy’s salary really does play a huge factor in trade discussions.
So we know Luhnow has been getting calls on the lefthander, which means interest, but teams believe his contract might be an issue. That sure sounds a lot like this past winter and the 2011 trade deadline. So what has changed that will finally make a deal possible? Does 1.64 era and 1.10 whip make a dent in people’s belief of Wandy or will scouts continue to feel like those in Stark’s article? Much like his salary, it only takes a few teams to find Wandy to their liking. I assume every team would take Wandy in a heartbeat but their view of him and his value is what keeps the deal from happening. Circumstances and need will be a huge factor, some teams may not view Wandy as an ace but the need for someone to at least play the role might push them into the mix. Jeff Luhnow will ask for good to great prospects for Wandy so a match won’t be easy, much like these last two seasons, but if Wandy continues to pitch like a frontline starter, something will have to develop and rumors will surely keep coming.