Tag: Sean Rodriguez

Sean Rodriguez to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Atlanta Braves added one of the most versatile players in baseball Thursday by signing Sean Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth over $11 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Heyman reported Rodriguez will earn $5 million per year with a $1.5 million signing bonus, making the deal worth a total of $11.5 million.

The 31-year-old utility man played seven different positions last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing everywhere on the field except for pitcher and catcher. While he spent the most time at first base, he played more than 10 games each at second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field.

Rodriguez is also coming off the best offensive season of his career. In 140 games, he batted .270 with a .349 on-base percentage to go with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. All were career highs for the nine-year veteran, who’s also spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels.

“Sean’s just done a remarkable job,” Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington said, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The defensive versatility and the impact, it’s hard to measure.”

Rodriguez will now hope to build on his success from last season, helping his new team in a variety of areas while trying to return to the playoffs. In Atlanta, he’ll likely be utilized at several positions across the infield and corner outfield, though Freddie Freeman is entrenched as the team’s first baseman and Dansby Swanson is the future at shortstop.

The Braves are still rebuilding, but Rodriguez’s versatility will make him a valuable option as the team gives playing time to young prospects.

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Sean Rodriguez to Pirates: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Seeking infield depth for next season, the Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed versatile utility man Sean Rodriguez to a one-year contract. 

The Pirates announced Rodriguez’s signing on their official Twitter account Thursday. 

Rodriguez spent last season with the Pirates, appearing in 139 games and hitting .246/.281/.362 with four home runs. 

The 30-year-old is a valuable asset for a small-market franchise like Pittsburgh because of his ability to play multiple positions. Last year, for example, he spent time at first base, second base, third base, right field and left field. 

The Pirates have already made a substantial change to their infield, trading second baseman Neil Walker to the New York Mets for Jon Niese, causing a ripple effect, with Josh Harrison moving to the keystone and Jung Ho Kang being the starting third baseman when he returns from knee surgery

Kang’s timetable to return is six to eight months, making spring training an optimistic scenario. Rodriguez may be tasked with handling third base when 2016 starts if Kang is unable to hit his earliest projections. 

Even though Rodriguez’s bat doesn’t pack a lot of punch, he is a valuable defensive player. FanGraphs credited him with four defensive runs saved combined at all of the positions he played. 

The Pirates don’t need Rodriguez to be a key component in 2016 because they already have Harrison, Kang, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco in the lineup. 

As long as he continues to play solid defense wherever Pirates manager Clint Hurdle plays him while contributing an occasional extra-base hit, he will be exactly what the team needs to make another postseason appearance in 2016. 

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Cubs vs. Pirates NL Wild Card Game: Live Score and Instant Reaction

FINAL SCORE: Cubs 4-0 Pirates

The Cubs are moving on.

In a game that had pitcher’s duel written all over it, Jake Arietta answered the call and helped lead the Chicago Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday night.

Arrieta was masterful, twirling a complete-game four-hitter while striking out 11 Buccos. He worked through the game unscathed until the Pirates rallied the bases loaded in the sixth inning. However, Starling Marte ripped into a double play to end the threat.

Arrieta got some early help from the top of Chicago’s lineup, courtesy of Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler. After driving home Fowler with a single in the first inning, the lefty rookie slugger Schwarber blasted a 449-foot home run to right field that drove in Fowler again and put the Cubs ahead, 3-0, in the third.

Not to be outdone, Fowler added a solo shot in the fifth to put Chicago up, 4-0. It would prove more than enough for Arrieta, as the only drama he encountered after the sixth was a bench-clearing brawl in the seventh.

He was plunked in his at-bat and had some words with Tony Watson, which emptied both benches in the process. The lone ejection was Sean Rodriguez, who took out some frustration on the water cooler. Arrieta responded to the chaos by stealing second base and getting through the seventh inning with help from a nifty Kris Bryant double-play turn to end the threat. 

Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole finished the night having given up four runs on six hits and tallying four strikeouts in five innings. The two home runs proved to be the difference, with the Pirates unable to find an answer on offense.

For the second straight year, Pittsburgh was held scoreless on its home field in the Wild Card Game. In those two games combined, the Bucs had just eight hits, nine baserunners and struck out 21 times.

The Pirates end their season with 98 wins, the second most in the majors. That won’t make losing two years in a row feel any better, and winning the division becomes that much more important in 2016.

For Chicago, tonight marked 14 consecutive wins in games Arrieta has pitched. The victory also ended a nine-game postseason losing streak.

The Cubs will now travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals, whom they’ve faced 19 times this year but never in the playoffs. Chicago went 8-11 against St. Louis this season.

First pitch is slated for Friday at 6:45 p.m. ET.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Make Two Smart Offseason Moves in One Day

General manager Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates have been busy this offseason, making small moves for players they hope will play to their maximum potential in 2015.  

The smartest moves the Pirates have made occurred Monday when Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the Pirates acquired utility man Sean Rodriguez via trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and designated first baseman Gaby Sanchez for assignment.

The 29-year-old Rodriguez batted just .211 in 96 games for the Rays in 2014, which is nothing to write home about. However, his 12 home runs and 41 RBI were both career-highs.  

A seven-year veteran, Rodriguez owns a career batting average of .225 in 1,641 at-bats. His busiest season came in 2011, when he played in 131 games and batted .223 for the Rays.  

Primarily a middle infielder, Rodriguez gives the Pirates the opportunity to rest players such as Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer when they need a day off.

In reality, he can fill in at any position when a player needs a rest day for the Pirates in 2015, and manager Clint Hurdle can be confident with him in the lineup.  

What makes him so valuable as a backup or a utility man is the fact he can play any position in the field, as he has seen playing time at every position except catcher throughout his career.

If Rodriguez blasts 12 home runs as a utility man for them in 2015, they would gladly take that, but he is capable of achieving more given the right number of at-bats.  

Rodriguez collected 237 at-bats in 2014, and although he totaled just 50 hits, more than half of them went for extra bases (28 of them, to be exact).  

With the move for Rodriguez came another move to make room on the team’s roster: designating first baseman Gaby Sanchez for assignment.  

Sanchez was a promising player a few seasons ago when he was a member of the Miami Marlins, blasting 19 home runs in back-to-back seasons between 2010-2011.  

Sanchez has blasted just 21 home runs combined in the three seasons since, as his ineffectiveness against right-handed pitchers has led him to a role as a platoon player.  

This was a promising move for the Pirates because it now leaves just two first basemen on the roster: Pedro Alvarez and Andrew Lambo.  

Alvarez, who was the team’s everyday third baseman, will likely be the new everyday first baseman in 2015 while Josh Harrison takes over at the hot corner.  

Although he missed 40 games due to injuries in 2014, Alvarez possesses tremendous power in the heart of the Pirates’ lineup, which is what they need. Platooning him with Sanchez probably wouldn’t have been as effective as leaving Alvarez in the lineup on a consistent basis.  

Furthermore, Sanchez’s statistics even against left-handed pitchers were not impressive in 2014 like they were in 2013.  He batted .333 in 102 at-bats against southpaws in 2013 but just .256 in 133 at-bats against them in 2014.  

Sanchez’s numbers have consistently declined throughout his career, and as he is already 31 years old and set to become a free agent in 2016, the best option would be for the Pirates to trade him (the Pirates have 10 days to decide whether to trade or release him).  

The Pirates became a better team Monday, from an offensive standpoint. While Rodriguez is not a standout player, he has proven he can play at the big league level, while Sanchez’s declining numbers have to be considered a concern for the Pirates.  

*Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.

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Spring Training Preview: 10 Players You’ve Never Heard of Who Could Bust Out

Every year, there are a bunch of players who break out during Spring Training and blossom into special talents seemingly out of nowhere to the ordinary baseball fan. Last year’s example was Chris Johnson, who dominated during Spring Training, and went on to establish himself as a threat at third base throughout the regular season.

Who will be this year’s breakout player? It is impossible to know at this point, however in this article I will provide ten players who I see breaking out to borderline All-Stars in 2011 and beyond. Spring Training may be meaningless in some regards, however it gives baseball fans an opportunity to watch their team’s prospects and potential All-Stars. If you are looking for something to watch this spring, keep an eye on these ten players. 

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Tampa Bay Surprise: Five Players Who Could Have Breakout Seasons In 2011

As the Rays kick off Spring Training this week, many new faces have entered into camp, and many familiar ones have gone away.

It was a long winter for the Rays, having lost most of their bullpen and their franchise outfielder, but picking up a couple of key pieces along the way.

In 2011, it’s clear to see who the leaders are (Evan Longoria and David Price) and who the key acquisitions were (Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon).

But what about a few surprises for this year? Here are the five players for Tampa Bay who have the best chance for a breakout season in 2011.

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AL East Positional Analysis And Ranking: Second Base

During my current series, I will be examining the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams in the American League East, on a position-by-position basis.

The players at each position will be ranked in relation to their peers within the division, with each team being assigned points based on where their player ranks in comparison to the other players. 

Today, the series continues with a look at the second basemen.

The best player will earn 10 points for his team, with the remaining players being assigned points as follows: 7-5-3-1.

At the end of the process, I will accumulate all of the points for each team and create a divisional power ranking.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Top Not-Obvious Sleepers By Position

If you are a fantasy baseball avid, over the next few weeks leading up to your draft, you will likely read more “Top Ten Sleepers for 2011” or “Under the Radar Players to Watch Out For This Year” articles than ‘Useful Financial Advice’ or ‘Finance for Dummies’ articles Brian Cashman or Al Davis will read. Although, on that note, everyone in America would be well-served to read some of those articles. Anyway…sleepers. What are they? What does the term sleeper mean? How young or inexperienced does a player have to be to be considered a sleeper? Well, let me answer those questions:


My unofficial, purely opinionated, but still useful definition of sleeper eligibility: If 30 percent or fewer of your league has this player on their sleeper radar, he can be considered a sleeper. If any more have him on their lists, he’s immediately ineligible.


To sum it up, Matt LaPorta is not a sleeper this year…neither is Andrew McCutchen…If LaPorta is on your list of sleepers, you probably don’t look deep enough into rosters to find real sleepers. If Miguel Cabrera is on your list of sleepers, this would be a good time for you to save yourself some frustration in 2011 by quitting your league.


Some people will contend that anyone can be a sleeper. For example, let’s take Dustin Pedroia. Everyone knows him and everyone knows he will be good. However, you think he’ll be the top hitter overall in 2011. (This is a hypothetical situation, but if you are reading this paragraph and thinking to yourself: “Oh hey, here’s someone else who thinks Pedroia will be the best hitter in 2011”, see my advice above for people with Miguel Cabrera on their sleeper lists.) Some people will say that this makes Pedroia a sleeper in your mind. In other words, they believe a sleeper to be someone who they think will exceed the general public’s projection. Well, those players are more accurately called “underrated players.” They are well known, thus they are not players that will slip passed anyone’s radar and fall into your lap.


Now that we have established the definition of sleeper eligibility (If not, that was probably a waste of four paragraphs), let’s examine what flags to look for when choosing your sleepers. First, and most importantly, is potential. You can have all the playing time, surrounding hitters, etc., but if you don’t have potential you’ll just end up like Skip Schumaker. (In fairness to Skip, he was a useful second baseman in many 30 team NL only leagues).

Second flag: playing time. There is nothing more frustrating than a player dripping with potential held back by playing time…on second thought, there are actually a lot of things more frustrating. Regardless, playing time is key. Playing time can come in many ways; through injury, trades, or simply earning a starting spot.

Third flag: surrounding players. You have to feel bad for Rajai Davis; he scored merely 66 runs despite hitting .284 and stealing 50 bases. (He can thank his “power hitters” who were supposed to drive him in. That’s you Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff. On second thought, blame whoever believed those two would drive anyone in and refused to trade for somebody who could drive in runs). There are other flags to look for, however these are the three major flags to be aware of. Now, let’s move on to the sleepers at last.



(Drum roll, suspenseful music, anything else that would stimulate a dramatic aura)

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Tampa Bay Rays 2B Sean Rodriguez’s Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report

The Tampa Bay Rays shipped Akinori Iwamura out of town in the offseason, thinking that Ben Zobrist would assume regular duties at 2B. Sean Rodriguez apparently had other ideas.  Just look at the numbers he’s posted thus far (through Sunday):

125 At Bats

.288 Batting Average (36 Hits)

Four Home Runs

21 RBI

23 Runs

Two Stolen Bases

.328 On Base Percentage

.472 Slugging Percentage

.400 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The bulk of his damage has been done during his current 15-game hitting streak, where he has gone 22-for-54 with three HR, 13 RBI, 11 R and two S.

Prior to the streak, he was hitting .197 with a .316 slugging percentage. It’s amazing how two tremendous weeks change a perception, isn’t it?

Clearly, he’s benefiting from an extremely lucky BABIP. Sooner or later that luck is going to swing the other way, and probably in an extreme manner. When that happens, his average is going to plummet.

His biggest problem is his strikeout rate. He’s currently striking out 33.6 percent of the time. During the hot streak, he has that number down to 20.4 percent, which also helps to explain things.  

I’m not going to say that it is impossible that he has improved his strikeout rate, given his Minor League career mark of 24.8 percent (over 2,748 AB). Still, the improvement is dramatic. I would look for him to regress a bit here as well.

His power is for real and is what really put him on the map, first for the Angels (the Rays acquired him as part of the Scott Kazmir trade). Granted, his Triple-A numbers came in the homer-happy Pacific Coast League, but the totals are impressive nonetheless:

  • 2008 (248 AB) – 21 HR
  • 2009 (365 AB) – 29 HR

Is he going to be a 30-HR hitter with regular playing time? Probably not, but he could hit 25 HR. Out of a middle infielder, that certainly has value.

The problem is going to be: At what cost in the average department? As we discussed, the strikeouts are likely to increase from what he’s done during his current hitting streak, as the luck is going to regress. 

Yes, it’s possible the power increases slightly, but when you look at his underlying metrics, it’s no lock:

  • 41.8 percent Fly Ball Rate
  • 12.1 percent HR/FB

In other words, you are probably looking at a 20-25 HR hitter with an average in the .250 range, if he were to get regular playing time. Chances are, with the depth the Rays have, he’ll start finding himself on the bench once he begins to struggle.

He’s a player I certainly would ride with while he’s hot, especially in deeper formats. In most formats he’s going to have eligibility in 2B and OF, which helps his long-term prospects.

Is he a long-term solution? Probably not, but he’s a player I wouldn’t mind having on my bench and plugging in from time-to-time.

What about you? Is Rodriguez a player you would want to own? Why or why not?

Make sure to check out recent Scouting Reports:


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Must or Bust: Are Jonathan Niese, Ted Lilly and Brennan Boesch Waiver-Wire Gems?

A quick look at last week’s Fantasy Baseball top performing and least owned players on the waiver wire. Jonathan Niese and Ted Lilly throw a 1 hitter. Aubrey Huff and Gaby Sanchez hit two dingers each. Can they really keep it up for another week? Check out who’s a Must or a Bust.


Sean Rodriguez – 9% of Y! Leagues
5 R / 2 HRS / 5 RBI / .478 BA
I really like what we’re seeing from this kid. Riding a 14 game hitting streak, he’s boosted his average from a measly .245 to respectable .288. He even had a nine game tear of one run per game. We’ll see exactly how good Rodriguez is in the next few weeks, but if he’s gonna do it anywhere it will be on the hard hitting Rays.

Gaby Sanchez – 7% of Y! Leagues
5 R / 3 HRS / 7 RBI / .409 BA
A big guy who can hit for power that is owned in under 10 percent of leagues? Slightly larger than Cody Ross, we may have a winner on our hands.

Ryan Spilborghs – 1% of Y! Leagues
5 R / 3 HRS / 3 RBI / .625 BA
Well we all know that playing in Colorado always produces big numbers, but not for a part-time player. He’s got real competition in the OF with CarGo and Hawpe but if Smith doesn’t produce Spillborghs could see increased time. Good numbers for the week but let’s not get crazy here.

Brennan Boesch – 36% of Y! Leagues
5 R / 3 HRS / 5 RBI / 1 SB / .360 BA
A fantastic start for a fantastic rookie. The average, homers and RBIs are all there. Only category that is low is the runs, but they will come.

Aubrey Huff – 30% of Y! Leagues
5 R / 3 HRS / 7 RBI / .348 BA
Huff is starting to heat up and must I remind you that we are only one year removed from 32 homers? Six of his 10 dingers have come in the last month. The potential is absolutely there.

Erick Aybar – 46% of Y! Leagues
6 R / 3 RBI / 2 SB / .419 BA
Switching to the leadoff spot has turned things around for Aybar. Aybar won’t ever get you homers or RBIs but if you lack runs and stolen bases he’s your guy. Aybar already has 11 stolen bases—he had 14 in twice as many at bats in ’09. Twelve multi-hit games in the past month too.

Garrett Jones – 55% of Y! Leagues
4 R / 2 HRS / 4 RBI / 2 SB / .333 BA
Jones grabbed everyone’s attention last year with monster numbers in half a season. The beginning of this year hasn’t been all-star worthy but he’s started to heat up again. In the past 12 games, Jones has seven multi-hit games and five homers. He’s also raised his average 39 points in the last month.


Ted Lilly – 51% of Y! Leagues
16 IP / 1 W / 11 K / 0.56 ERA / 0.38 WHIP
What a week for Lilly! First a four hitter, one run game against Milwaukee, and then a shutout, one hitter against the White Sox. The wins have been few and far between but can you really blame a pitcher with a sub-3.00 ERA? Eight quality starts out 10. He is a MUST in all leagues right now.

Jason Hammel – 9% of Y! Leagues
15.1 IP / 2 W / 9 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.98 WHIP
Hammel is on a lot of people’s watch lists as a break through for 2010. He has put the groin injury behind him and dominated the past two starts, giving up zero runs and only three runs in the past four. (for more detailed numbers see Tommy Landry’s take—The Fantasy Fix Roundtable: Post All-Star Break Targets).

Jonathon Niese – 9% of Y! Leagues
9 IP / 1 W / 6 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.11 WHIP
Santana seriously needed the backup after getting absolutely nothing from Perez and Maine, so Niese and Pelfrey have stepped it up. A one hitter against San Diego has him on everyone’s watch list…is another dominant game in order against the lowly Indians? Couldn’t pick a better team to follow up against!

Justin Masterson – 7% of Y! Leagues
9 IP / 1 W / 6 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.44 WHIP
The potential is certainly there and his last game against his former team sure was magical (CG, two hits). My only concern is that Masterson has only pitched over seven innings twice this year. Batters are hitting .287 against him and he has a crazy high WHIP (1.64). I won’t say his last game was a fluke but I will need a bunch more quality starts to get on this train.

Wade LeBlanc – 11% of Y! Leagues
13IP / 2 W / 6 K / 0.69 ERA / 1.15 WHIP
After four straight losses, Wad has turned it around the last two only giving up one run in 13 innings. The Padres pitching this year has been outstanding, and LeBlanc is right there in the mix. A high WHIP but a low ERA, keeps me with a watchful eye.

Joel Piñeiro – 25% of Y! Leagues
9 IP / 1 W / 7 K / 1.00 ERA / 0.67 WHIP
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—Pineiro is a ROLLERCOASTER! He pitches one good game he gives up six runs the next. He pitches two great games, he give up nine the next. I don’t have the stomach for him. As many weeks that he will win for you, he will single-handedly lose the rest. Someday, Joel, someday.

Gavin Floyd – 51% of Y! Leagues
14 IP / 1 W / 17 K / 1.29 ERA / 1.00 WHIP
2008 may be the best we will ever get from Floyd, but there is a reason why he was the Phillies first round pick. He has amazing control and can win a game without dominating the batters. Two solid starts in row hopefully has Floyd back on track. Higher owned, but still worth taking a peek to see if he’s out there.

Is Niese the real deal? Will Lilly keep it up?
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Tags: Waiver Wire, Fantasy Baseball Advice, Fantasy Baseball Blog, The Fantasy Fix, Must or Bust, Fantasy Marx, MLB, NL, AL, Sean Rodriguez, Gaby Sanchez, Ryan Spilborghs, Brennan Boesch, Aubrey Huff, Erick Aybar, Garrett Jones, Ted Lilly, Jason Hammel, Jonathon Niese, Justin Masterson, Wade LeBlanc, Joel Piñeiro, Gavin Floyd, Mike Pelfrey, Johan Santana, Brad Hawpe, Carlos Gonzalez, Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Los Angels Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Saint Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox.

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