The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed Sean Rodriguez, according to Jerry Crasnick.
Sean Rodriguez has re-signed with the #Pirates, says an MLB source.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 15, 2015
In last night’s projection, I was trying to figure out the bench, and figured the Pirates would add another utility guy. It’s not a surprise that they went with Rodriguez to fill that spot. They were comfortable with him last year as a super utility player who could play anywhere. He received most of his time at first base as a defensive backup, due to the poor defense from Pedro Alvarez. That’s not the most valuable role for him, and the Pirates should have a better situation at first base this year. Neal Huntington has already indicated that Rodriguez wouldn’t be used in that role again this year if he returned.
There’s no a lot of upside with this move. ZiPS had Rodriguez as an 0.2 WAR player in 250 plate appearances, which sounds about right. Most of his value is going to come from his defense, which is never something that excites people. The Pirates already have a guy who could be an offensive geared utility infielder for the 2016 season in Alen Hanson, so this is a change of pace.
It was only a few years ago that Rodriguez was putting up around 1.0 WAR as a bench player. Part of that was because he walked a lot more often than he did last year (7.8% vs 2.9%). It seems unlikely that he could return to these levels, but it’s worth a shot depending on the price. As for his usage, it’s not a bad pickup depending on where he falls on the depth charts. If he’s the starter at second until Jung-ho Kang returns, then this is disappointing. If he’s the utility infielder while Alen Hanson starts in that situation, and the second utility guy when Kang returns, then it’s not a bad move, with more upside than someone like Pedro Florimon.
Rob Biertempfel says that Rodriguez will get $2.5 M plus incentives. He’d need to be worth about 0.4 WAR to justify the base salary.
Source: Sean Rodriguez re-signs with #pirates for one year, $2.5M plus incentives. Pending physical tomorrow in Bradenton.
— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) December 15, 2015