First Pitch: 40-Man Roster Updates and Wandy Rodriguez Thoughts

At the start of the off-season, I decided to only do First Pitch on Monday-Thursday, unless there’s big news over the weekend. There just aren’t enough off-season topics to do one every night. So far the break on the weekends has been glorious. However, I felt the need for a short update tonight due to the amount of articles on the site today (not that any of them were big enough news for follow up on First Pitch), plus a site update. First, the update, then the links.

**I updated the Pittsburgh Pirates Future Payroll page today, removing everyone who is a free agent. Normally this page is good to project the future salaries of all of the players on the 40-man roster. However, in the early part of the off-season it is going to be the best place to keep a running track of how many players are currently on the 40-man roster. The 2014 40-man payroll page currently has non-tender projections of guys who are still on the roster, along with a listing of ten open spots on the 40-man. That is done for payroll projection purposes, making the 2014 page better for salary projections.

Wandy Rodriguez

Any production from Wandy Rodriguez is a bonus for the Pirates in 2014. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

**There were two transactions today. First, Wandy Rodriguez exercised his player option. After that, the Pirates announced that Felix Pie had been outrighted off the 40-Man roster. Both moves were expected, and didn’t change the payroll projection above. The Rodriguez article includes a link to a quote from Neal Huntington saying he thinks Rodriguez will be ready next year. My feeling on Rodriguez is the same: the Pirates should treat any production from him as a bonus. They have Jeff Locke as a backup if Rodriguez can’t pitch, so they don’t need to make any backup plans over the off-season. Basically Rodriguez is a fifth starter, and isn’t being relied upon next year.

**The other big news today was that Jonathan Mayo said the Pirates have the top farm system. This is after they graduated Gerrit Cole, Jordy Mercer, Justin Wilson, and Bryan Morris. I don’t recall where Mayo had the Pirates coming into the season. MLB.com had a points system based on guys in the top 100, and the Pirates finished sixth there. That wasn’t really a system ranking. To give an idea of how much things have changed, the Pirates had four prospects in MLB.com’s top 100 heading into the year. They could have eight next year, according to Mayo, and that’s after graduating Gerrit Cole. It’s impressive to improve your overall system while subtracting a big time prospect like Cole.

**With the 2014 Prospect Guide being made available for pre-sales this week (order here if you haven’t already…also, why haven’t you ordered already?), I did a Prospect Rewind, looking back at How Exicardo Cayones Changed Our Prospect Rankings. And if you’re wondering why I decided to write a First Pitch on a Friday night, rather than take the night off, it’s because I’m just taking a break from working on the rankings and research for the upcoming guide. I’m hoping by the weekend the initial rankings will be completed, which means only 5,742,358 revisions remaining between now and mid-December.

**Here are the winter league reports from today:

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Share This Post On
  • emjayinTN

    Tim: Just ordered my 2014 Prospect Guide and 2 extra’s for my sons. Unbelievable how many new contributors to the daily offerings when 30 or 40 comments per thread are made on a regular basis. Congratulations.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      emjay….a third of them are either yours, Calipari or mine……lol
      (If I left anyone out, pls foogive me….it is still early here)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

    It’s a shame that a small market team like the Bucs has to potentially waste $7.5 mil on a pitcher who may not even pitch. Arthritic elbows DON’T get better.

    ” It’s impressive to improve your overall system while subtracting a big time prospect like Cole.”

    Ain’t THAT the truth! Thank you NH and Roy Smith!

    • Cato the Elder

      I bet the Astros are even less thrilled to be spending $5.5 million on a pitcher who definitely won’t pitch for them. At the moment, I am fairly certain he is their highest paid “player.”

  • leadoff

    IMO, Wandy will be ready in ST, throwing well, not getting anyone out and throw the Pirate nation into a tizzy, but be ready for opening day as long as he does not have a reoccurrence. If he gets us to Late may that will be enough, he can also be a 5th man early in the year when they usually need only 4 starting pitchers, so I don’t see Wandy as an important gog just yet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      leadoff…I hope you’re right, but as someone with arthritis, unless he is willing to throw in pain (and effectively), he will never pitch again, imho.

      • leadoff

        Lee, IMO, you might be focusing a little too much on his arthritis, his forearm is what has to heal, he did not get arthritis after one pitch that put him out of action, one would think that he had some arthritis before his forearm went bad, but he was pitching effectively with that problem. I do agree that if he has chronic arthritis, he probably would be done, but they would know that at this point and not be expecting him to pitch anymore at all, in other words they would have contacted the insurance co. by now.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

          leadoff…I hope you and Pirate Mike are correct.

  • csnumber23

    Tim, love the updates, love the articles and love the site. This will be my first year getting the prospect guide. Looking forward to it. You are doing a great job of helping get me through the off season and I always enjoy debating potential moves.

    As for Wandy, anything we get out of him will be a bonus. We don’t need to rely on him, it’s just too bad the 7.5 mil has to be payed. I think we we will see Taillon by mid June.

    Oh have I mentioned how much I can’t wait to see the outfield of Starling, Cutch and Polonco!!! I hope eventually they switch Starling to center and Cutch to left but either way that is going to be the best OF in baseball offensively and defensively!!

  • piratemike

    I don’t suffer from arthritis and I’m not a doctor but can anybody really speak to how much pain Wandy feels when he pitches other then him? I know that it caused him to sit out the year but then they didn’t know what was causing the pain.
    I guess they have to pay him anyway (don’t know how insurance works in this case) so maybe they can get 5 innings out of him or use him in relief …..they can always use LHRP who can pitch to both sides of the plate.

    • piratemike

      Leadoff must have posted while I was writing the above but he pretty much said what I was thinking.

  • https://profiles.google.com/107500598404660809214 Kerry Writtenhouse

    Another factor in his forearm pain could have come from over compensating for pain in his elbow. Like Lee said, the arthritis isn’t going anywhere. Once he starts piching in the spring, the pain will be there.

  • emjayinTN

    Wandy Rodriguez is 91-92 in his career pitching for the Houston Astro’s, and Pittsburgh Pirates – nuff said? And, I know that sometimes our memories are shorter than – oh, never mind, they are just short. If not for the performances of Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Locke, and Francisco Liriano in April, May, and June, where would the Pirates have been? Wandy was 6-4, Locke was 7-1, and Liriano was 7-3 – that’s 20-8. Wandy Rodriguez knows how to pitch and he also knows he is in a contract year – the combination of those two factors make me feel good about his chances to be a contributor in 2014. Is he doing any throwing at all, or has he been placed on “rest only” status? Oh, and anyone who has pitched or played any sport will have arthritus in just about every joint known to man.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 leefoo

      “Oh, and anyone who has pitched or played any sport will have arthritus in just about every joint known to man.”

      Ain’t that the bleepin’ truth….lol