Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Wandy 2014 Option Situation

On June 5th, Wandy Rodriguez pitched 1/3 of an inning and then grabbed his left elbow in discomfort.  He was put on the 15 day DL on June 6th and it was announced that he merely had elbow inflammation.  Wandy was unable to pitch during a side session this week and there is no talk of when/if the next one may occur.

It's hard for me to be optimistic that this story will have a happy ending.  If Wandy has anything less than Tommy John surgery for his elbow, I'll be surprised.  The issue at hand, besides the obvious 2013 on-field performance that would be missed, is the option for 2014 on Rodriguez.

When Wandy was traded from the Astros to the Pirates, his 2014 club option of $13M became a player option for $13M.  As part of the deal, if Wandy exercises the option the Astros send the Pirates $5.5M.  So the Pirates would be on the hook for only $7.5M for one year of Wandy.  Good deal.

But it's not a good deal if Wandy needs TJ.  Most common returns are 12 months for TJ, so Wandy would return in late June 2014 under this scenario. That's roughly the halfway point of the year, so the Pirates would be paying $7.5M for only a 1/2 year of his services.  That's not a good return on investment.

Rodriguez's K rate has been steadily dropping each year since 2008, but his BB rate has been improving over the years, too.  His ERA/FIP have remained steady over the years.  If the Astros weren't kicking some cashish in 2014, Rodriguez probably wouldn't be worth $13M.  If Rodriguez were healthy, there's a chance he would turn down the $13M option and try to get a 3 year deal on the open market, even if would be for less average money per year.

I just hope the Pirates and Wandy don't wait to long to make a decision about his elbow, one way or another.  If affects not just 2013, but also 2014.

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