MLB Hot Stove: Wandy Rodriguez emerged last year as the new ace of the Astros starting rotation after the departure of Roy Oswalt, and now the team has rewarded him for his performance.

Rodriguez agreed to a three year, $34 million extension with a vesting option for a fourth year that would make it a $44.5 million contract.  He doesn’t have the cache of a Lee or a Lincecum, but Rodriguez has quietly made a name for himself in Houston.

He emerged in 2009, when he went 14-12 with a 3.02 ERA and 193 strikeouts.  Last season he enjoyed another solid campaign, proving that 2009 was no fluke.  Now GM Ed Wade and owner Drayton McLane will try to start the rebuilding process by locking up their lefty for the long haul.

Now if only they could get out from under Carlos Lee’s contract, then they would be all set.