Wandy Rodriguez is Unlikely to Make Houston Astros Rotation.
Following Game two of the Houston Astros spring training, it is too early to determine the favorites for the rotation. I still think that the rotation will consist of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Mike Fiers, and Doug Fister. Scott Feldman could be the odd man out at the start of the season, but could earn the role of the swingman in the bullpen and give McCullers a breather from time to time to limit innings of the budding ace.
Before the Astros inked Fister to a one-year deal, they brought back a familiar face on a minor league deal. Wandy Rodriguez broke into the majors with the Astros in 2005 but was traded in 2012 as part of the ‘process’ that led to the development to create this team that is expected to win big this year. While Rodriguez never really panned out for the Pirates, none of the players they traded have panned out for the Astros either.
Rodriguez pitched for Astros’ rival Texas Rangers last year and pitched well at first, but struggled later. The 37-year-old left-hander was 6-4 with a 4.90 ERA in 86 plus innings in 2015, so his good ole days are probably in the past. However, he got the start for the Astros on Friday versus the Cardinals and pitched two innings while allowing one hit and four strikeouts before being removed. The Astros won 6-3, but the outcome does not matter much in the grand scheme of things.
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As a veteran on a minor league contract, Rodriguez got off to as good as a start as one could hope for in his first start. You want to get noticed, which is what he did on Friday. He represents depth in the rotation, most likely he will pitch in Triple-A until needed. His role could be similar to the role that Dan Straily had in 2015, be the leader in the Triple-A rotation and make a start in the big leagues when needed.
Speaking of Straily, he is out of options, so unless he is on the MLB roster opening day, he will have to be put on waivers because he is out of options. The Astros will have to make a tough decision, but Straily made their decision easier by giving up two runs on four hits in one inning Friday. The Astros will probably give him a few more appearances, but Straily may be done. He was one of my first interviews, and I root for the guy, but it might be time for the Astros to move on.
As for Wandy, look for him to compete for the rotation this spring, but he will start off in Triple-A. An outside of the box idea could be that Rodriguez could serve as a situational lefty reliever for the Astros this season. Too early to make the call right now.
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**