The offseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates promises to be an intriguing one and they made some news Friday afternoon by announcing that starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has exercised his player option for the 2014 season, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) November 1, 2013
It was an expected move for the southpaw to exercise his $13-million option.
After only pitching 62.2 innings last season thanks to an injury of his left forearm, the 35-year old wouldn’t have earned anywhere near that as a free agent.
Rodriguez was off to a good start to the 2013 season before suffering the injury and should jump right back into a spot among the top of the rotation.
If Rodriguez, who posted a 3.59 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a 42.3 percent ground-ball rate in a limited sample size this season, is equally effective next season, it will be a big boost to the Bucs starting rotation.
The biggest decision among the 2014 rotation remaining involves veteran A.J. Burnett. The right-hander is a free agent and the Pirates are expected to attempt to re-sign him if he doesn’t elect retirement instead.
If Burnett does elect to call it a career, Jeff Locke would be the favorite to earn a spot in the rotation, at least on paper.
As for Rodriguez, the left-hander remains a question mark.
You would think he could bounce back next season and be an effective starter, but at 35 and coming off an injury plagued season, you just don’t know.
However, after exercising his option, he will be given every opportunity to again prove that he is a quality major league starter.