On Thursday evening, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have signed outfielder Todd Cunningham and right-handed pitcher Richard Rodriguez to minor league deals. Both players received invites to Major League Spring Training. We announced the Cunningham news here back on November 16th, with details of his signing in this link.

As for Rodriguez, the 27-year-old made his Major League debut this September with the Baltimore Orioles, throwing 5.2 innings over five relief appearances. He did not pitch well in his extremely limited time, allowing nine earned runs on 12 hits, including four home runs.

Rodriguez spent the better part of the season in Triple-A Norfolk, where he had a 2.42 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 70.2 innings. He originally signed with the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent and made his pro debut back in 2010. He has played parts of four seasons in Triple-A, posting a 2.70 ERA in 243 innings, which is made more impressive by the fact that two of those years were spent in the high-offense Pacific Coast League.

Rodriguez has been a fly ball pitcher during his career, including an extremely low 0.39 GO/AO ratio this season in the minors. He throws a fastball/slider combo, with the fastball sitting in the 93-95 MPH range.

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    • Angels and Royals each got 2 of them, another team signed one. Eight are left, but most likely the better ones are off the board.

      • BA has the Angels with 2, and then the Royals, Phillies, and Dodgers with one apiece. But I agree, most of what was worthwhile is gone.

        Yunior Severino, SS/2B is still available and he hit pretty well in the GCL in 2017 – .286/.345/.444/.789 OPS. 22 EBH in 189 AB. The Braves gave him $1.9 mil. Switchhitter with good size, just turned 18 in October.

        • Severino is holding a private workout today for scouts in the Dominican.

          I’ll note that the Braves free agent group has a 13th player included. Juan Carlos Negret wasn’t part of the dozen on that BA list, but he should have been part of the group. They lost 12 players who had already played, plus a 2017-18 signing (Ji-Hwan Bae) who didn’t appear in any games yet.

          The Dodgers signed one player, but he was one of the lesser players. BA didn’t have him as one of the top eight available players from the group of 12 and the eighth player on their list definitely wouldn’t be a top 50 prospect in the system. There are still a few good names left.

      • Law’s comments just say that most of these players have seen a drop in their scouting report, but the bonuses so far have reflected that. You’re still talking about decent prospects though.

  1. Would assume Rodriguez is one of the few MILB Free Agent pitchers we will sign. Not that much room as Tim pointed out in his Indianapolis roster projection.

  2. I am not sure why they even wasted their time with these guys, but i guess you have to get AAA bodies someplace, it just seems a waste.

      • It’s a waste to waste your time commenting on the Pirates waste of time and the initial commenters haste of saying it was a waste to waste the time of everyone commenting.

        • Shall I continue the infinite loop? No, I am just going to air my grievances about this team that is clearly past its peak year (singular). All it would take is some actual investment in players, not facilities and staff, to get back to a competitive level. Management didn’t strike while the kettle was hot with a valuable McCutchen, a vastly overrated farm system and traded a serviceable Neil Walker (a year late) for a joke Jon Niese. The Pirates now have to use one of the two remaining assets they have that would generate a valuable return. Cole and or the huge supply of international money they currently have. For instance, Dee Gordon was just traded to the Mariners for international money and some picks. He will play center filed for the Mariners even though he played second base for the Marlins (sounds right down the Pirates ally). Why wouldnt the Pirates try to lock up a good versitile player in Dee Gordon? The Pirates seem to covet versatility. So much so that they consistently put players in positions where they have no business even standing at. I am starting to think they do this for a good laugh because, they sure as hell are not trying to improve with this tactic. Gordon would also be a legitamit leadoff hitter, something they haven’t seemed to have since I was born. Frazier looks good but, his glove is a liability in the filed, not Dee Gordon’s though. He would sure up our infield and outfield (all over the field) issues. Why wouldn’t the Pirates do this? Oh right, he is good and probably costs money. SRod will do for the next 10 years. The Pirates will keep making these minor league “splashes”, while signing wash-ups who they hope can be serviceable for a year or two. I bet they trade Cutch for Niese.

          • Well for starters we didn’t trade for Gordon because his contract is ridiculous and we would need to trade roughly the contracts of Cole and Jhay to afford him so there’s that not to mention we have no need for int bonus money, oh and we need a power hitter not another leadoff option.

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