Sean Rodriguez

A’s should take a look at Pirates’ Sean Rodriguez for 2017

Recently I wrote that the Oakland A’s were fairly set for next season, that they wouldn’t have much room left on the roster to go after more than one, perhaps two, free agents.

Yet they do have a piece or two missing and it couldn’t hurt to bring in another veteran to support two-time all-star catcher Stephen Vogt in teaching the new young A’s team how to navigate playing everyday in the major leagues.

Stephen Vogt, Sean Rodriguez
Stephen Vogt. Getty Images.

The A’s could use another power bat. Even with rookies ready to help out in the outfield, designated hitter position and at first base, the A’s might prefer to a have more proven veteran that is able to handle each of those positions.

It’s highly likely that the Athletics will re-sign their only free agent, relief pitcher John Axford, however if they do not, will most likely choose to look inside the organization to replace him.

We’ve see the power that Khris Davis has been able to bring this season, hitting more than 40 home runs. We’ve also seen the potential power of rookie Ryon Healy who has hit 13 home runs since being called up in July, one of which was one of the longest hit of the 2016 season at 480 feet.

Still, the sample size on Healy is small and it would be helpful to have another power threat in the lineup to protect Davis. The A’s can likely find this individual through free agency.

With money coming off their books since the departure of outfielder Coco Crisp to Cleveland, the A’s may be able to afford to spend enough to get, not a top name free agent like Edwin Encarnacion, but certainly one with experience and power who can play the needed positions.

I  mentioned names like the Cardinals’ Brandon Moss, the Mariners’ Adam Lind and the Rays’ Logan Morrison as potential candidates. However after more extensive research on Moss, Lind, Morrison and more of the free agents on the market who seemed to fit the bill, it quickly became obvious that there was one player who stood out as a great candidate for the A’s  and it’s not someone anyone, at least on the west coast, would really even think of.

Logan Morrison, Sean Rodriguez
Logan Morrison. Getty Images.

Almost every other candidate had their drawbacks such as being a lefty hitter or not having ever played in the outfield and almost all of them struggled when it came to on-base percentage, something that the A’s ranked 28th out of the 30 MLB clubs in during the 2016 season.

This somewhat surprising but great match for the club could have even more skills that could really help the Athletics in 2017.

The player is Sean Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Most of you are probably thinking, “Who? And where and what position does he play?” Which are fair questions, even for the most knowledgeable of baseball fans.

A long-time member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Rodriguez, 31, was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 2014 season. He put up a very disappointing campaign in 2015, hitting .246/.281/.362 with just four home runs and 17 RBI in 139 games.

Still, the Pirates signed the “super-utility man” to a one-year, $2.5 million deal for the 2016 season. Rodriguez played so well that the Pirates would now like to re-sign such a versatile player, but are likely now priced-out considering the numbers put up by Rodriguez this season.

Sean Rodriguez
Sean Rodriguez. Getty Images.

A right-handed batter, the 31-year-old Rodriguez came back in 2016 with a vengeance. He played every single position this year except for pitcher and catcher, while spending the most time at first base, centerfield and right field, which as noted are the three main places the A’s could use help.

He doesn’t bring quite the pop as some of the other free agent candidates that the A’s will no-doubt take a look at. Yet, Rodriguez  hit 18 homers and drove in 56 runs in 2016, while batting .270 with an above average 3.48 on-base percentage. His righty bat would also platoon nicely with Yonder Alonso’s lefty-bat at first base.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Rodriguez to be worthy of a multi-year deal worth at around $5 million a year. That may be a bit expensive for Oakland’s taste, however they were prepared to offer Josh Reddick $10 million a year for three years so you never really know what the team might end up doing.

It would at least be a very good idea for the team to at least take a long look at Sean Rodriguez because if he performs in 2017 the way he did in 2016, he could help Oakland in so many ways.

  • God’s Left Hand

    I completely agree that Rodriguez would be a fit here for both the Athletics and for himself. He has never gotten the opportunity to win an everyday job and after his 2016 season this is possibly his last chance to do so. He certainly earned at least a shot at securing such a position and few teams could actually offer one to him like Oakland can. A huge power prospect when he first came up, he struggled mightily with the bat and basically developed into a super UT to basically save his MLB career. That said, the power has always been there, hidden somewhere deep down that bat barrel, though he has rarely been able to tap into it, due to his over-aggressiveness, sporadic playing time, or a combination of both. Final point being that, for a relatively modest investment, they can take a chance that Rodriguez’s 2016 breakout represents a true improvement and they can catch lightning in a bottle. At worst, and if his bat tanks, he continues his super utility role with quality defense at 7 different positions and leads the team in word fights.

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