The big news today was that the Pittsburgh Pirates designated Wandy Rodriguez for assignment. That was a move I called for last night, along with several times over the last few weeks as Rodriguez was coming back from his injury. Rodriguez just didn’t look like he had it this year. The results were poor, the velocity was down, and there was nothing suggesting he would bounce back to anything that would make him worth holding on to.
As I mentioned, I think Brandon Cumpton should take over in the rotation for Rodriguez. Neal Huntington said that they weren’t decided between Jeff Locke or Cumpton, although it seems like they made that decision tonight. The next start for Wandy’s spot will be on Monday. Locke pitched tonight, while Cumpton is the scheduled starter for Indianapolis on Monday. If Locke pitches on Monday, he’s going on short rest, after throwing six innings tonight. All signs currently point to Cumpton getting that start.
I wouldn’t expect Cumpton to arrive this weekend. Russell Martin served his suspension tonight, which means he’ll be active starting tomorrow. That means Tony Sanchez should be going back down to Triple-A, which will be just in time for Jason Grilli to return from the disabled list. The Pirates can carry an extra reliever over the weekend, which will be good after the start from Rodriguez on Wednesday. Then they can send someone like Jared Hughes down on Monday to make room for Cumpton.
**The Pirates claimed Josh Wall today, designating Phil Irwin for assignment. That pair of moves was interesting, especially the DFA of Irwin. It came shortly before Rodriguez was designated for assignment. The Pirates could have DFA’d Rodriguez for Wall, and saved Irwin for the short-term. Irwin is 27, and has had some issues in his return from injuries this year. Ryan Palencer has written about him a few times, most recently looking at how he is getting the feel back for his pitches. There’s a chance another team could pick up Irwin, although the loss wouldn’t be huge for a team like the Pirates, who have a lot of pitching depth. At this point, Irwin’s future is a reliever. That’s the same future for Wall, who is also 27, but who throws harder than Irwin. Both Irwin and Wall have stuff to work on before realizing their upside as MLB relievers. They both look like relief pitching depth at this point. You can read all about Wall on his Pirates Prospects Player Page.
**In tonight’s Prospect Watch, Willy Garcia hit two home runs, and Tyler Glasnow struggled with his control early, which has been a trend for him this year, early in the season. Glasnow has been working mostly off his fastball, and mixing in several changeups, but not using his curveball as often. It’s a similar approach to what Jameson Taillon saw when he was in High-A. The results weren’t good on paper, but Taillon went from someone who didn’t have a changeup, to someone who had a good changeup only two years later, in large part because of this approach. You could also credit the same approach for the success that Adrian Sampson is having this year in Altoona, after struggling with his numbers in Bradenton while working on his fastball/changeup combo last year.
**The 2014 draft is less than two weeks away now. Baseball America released their Top 200 Draft Prospects List today, which is always a huge reference for following the draft, especially in the middle rounds. For the last few weeks, we’ve been releasing draft profiles of players who could be in the Pirates’ range for their first round pick. Today, John Dreker looked at Derek Fisher, Tyler Beede, Monte Harrison, and Sean Reid-Foley.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.