I like the Rays FO. For every decision they make, I know there is a reasoning behind it. And while moves such as the Burrell one haven't always been successful as others, I understand their thought process. However, a few days ago, they physically made me scratch my head and wonder. The Rays did not protect Aneury Rodriguez for the second straight year. This time, he was drafted by the Astros, where he is a very safe bet to stick with.
Here are a few reasons why this doesn't make sense to me:
1. The Rays need bullpen help.
Rodriguez could provide some very good innings for the Rays in the bullpen, as he pitched in AAA this past year. Whether he turns into a long reliever or a set-up man is a guess, the Rays really lack any pitchers to put in the bullpen. Behind McGee, Sonny, and Ekstrom, I have Rodriguez penciled in as the Rays next reliever. This move can only make some sense if the Rays had enough bullpen arms.
2. Rodriguez isn't too bad.
In AAA and AA combined this past year. Rodriguez had 123.2 innings pitched with a 3.71 ERA. He had a K/9 of 7.3, a BB/9 of 3.7, and a HR/9 of .7. So while his stats were not great, they weren't too bad. Not top prospect worthy, but reasonable for a bullpen canidate. And I should also mention that he did this at age 22.
As far as stuff goes, Rodriguez plays well in the bullpen. In the bullpen, his fastball is 93-94 while he has a few offspeed pitches to play with. No real plus pitches, but his fastball, which is above average, and a few of his at least average pitches could play well. This is not closer stuff, but I don't think his stuff is much different from Balfour.
Rodriguez also figures to be the fifth starter of a reliever for the Astros.
3. The Rays must have liked Rodriguez.
This is the one that baffles me the most. They traded Jason Hammel for this guy, which means they must have had some type of faith in him. The scouts must have seen something that made him worth more than a giveaway.
4. The Rays had available spots.
The Rays right now have 32 men on their 40 man roster. That leaves eight available spots. Assuming the Rays sing a few players to major league deals, their are still a few spots open. I don't see them signing eight guys to deals at this point.
Could anyone explain the logic and thought process behind this move?