By Jason Shetler
The Pirates were looking to add some versatility to their bench last offseason. They acquired Sean Rodriguez from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league pitcher Buddy Borden. Prior to joining the Bucs, Rodriguez had garnered the reputation as a reliable super utility type. He became a free agent this offseason, but was brought back by the Pirates on a one-year deal. Let’s compare Rodriguez’s numbers from the past two years, and what he projects to do in 2016.
2014 (Rays): .211/.258/.443, 97 OPS+, 3.9% BB rate, 25.5% K rate, -0.2 WAR in 96 games
2015 (Pirates): .246/.281/.362, 76 OPS+, 2.1% BB rate, 26.3% K rate, -0.2 WAR in 139 games
2016 (Steamer): .236/.281/.372, 4.5% BB rate, 24.7% K rate, 0.1 WAR in 66 games
While the offensive figures for Rodriguez were subpar in 2014, they were no better last year. His slugging percentage a couple seasons ago made him at least closer to a league average player in terms of OPS+. Rodriguez has been really abysmal at controlling the strikezone the last two seasons with extremely low walk rates and very high strikeout rates. His plate discipline was horrendous in 2015, as he posted a 37.4% chase rate. Steamer projects Rodriguez to be replacement level again this year.
My analysis: Sean Rodriguez has now been a well below league average player offensively. The Pirates may have to use him primarily against lefties as a pinch-hitter. Rodriguez however does play above average defense. His best metrics defensively in 2015 was at first base where he had a 4.4 UZR/150, and the outfield, posting a UZR/150 of 4.6.