Wandy Rodriguez making Jeff Luhnow’s job easier
For 2 years now, most Astros’ fans have expected Wandy Rodriguez to be dealt as part of the newly embraced rebuilding plan but that hasn’t happened yet. Reality is Jeff Luhnow will trade Wandy at some point, it makes too much sense and is the best move for the franchise but so far he hasn’t played his hand. That may be changing soon, Wandy has been nothing short of fantastic so far this season. Five starts in and Wandy has a very nice 1.72 era after a 6 inning 2 run performance against the Reds on Friday. He looked fantastic for most of his outing and had it not been for a classic 13 pitch AB by Joey Votto, Wandy goes deeper into the ballgame. Most fans realized what kind of pitcher Wandy was and would be this season but with this type of start, the Astros front office have to have huge smiles on their faces.
One of the bigger fears most Astros’ fans had when Jeff Luhnow decided not to move Wandy during the offseason was regression. Would Wandy begin to regress and kill any serious potential trade value the lefthander possessed? Instead, not only has Rodriguez eliminated that fear but emerged as an even greater asset than expected. We knew Wandy could fetch us a nice prospect and some quality secondary players but with his contract and the belief from scouts that his stuff wouldn’t translate well to the American League it appeared to limit what else the club could get in return. Now, that may be changing, his hot start has to make certain teams who desperately need pitching begin to take notice. Wandy will never be an ace but he could certainly be a #3 guy on a contender and those are not easy to find. The Astros will pickup either half or even more of his contract, which isn’t nearly as bad as some will lead you to believe, to make a deal they like possible. We know from past discussions, teams do like Wandy but at their cost. Now the Astros might have the leverage when talking to various teams looking to add a key starter.
Plenty of time is still left between now and the deadline so many things can change and Wandy has had nagging injuries in the past. So keeping him consistent and injury free will be key. Odds say Wandy will be around a 3.00 era by the time the deadline rolls around but that doesn’t mean Jeff Luhnow has to wait that long. We’ve already seen a number of teams express interest in starting pitching and certainly some wheeling and dealing has taken place. If Wandy can continue to shine through May, the Astros should have a great market lined up and a possible deal in the works. With the new draft regulations and international free agent cap, trading prospects isn’t as popular as it once was. That said, when the time comes and a contender comes calling the Astros will have their pick of very nice prospects but what once was maybe one good prospect could suddenly become two and a possible a little bit more.