Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Sean Rodriguez from Braves for Connor Joe

According to Mark Bowman, who covers the Atlanta Braves for MLB.com, the Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired infielder Sean Rodriguez from the Braves for a catching prospect. David O’Brien, who also covers the Braves, reports that the prospect is actually a 1B/OF.

What we do know is that Rodriguez is signed this season and next for $5M each year. This year would just be the pro-rated amount, with approximately 1/3 of the season left.

Rodriguez has been out most of this season due to a car accident prior to Spring Training which required shoulder surgery. He wasn’t expected to be back by now, but has played 15 games with the Braves after a short rehab, posting a .162/.326/.351 slash line.

UPDATE 2:10 PM: The player returning to the Braves is Connor Joe according to O’Brien. He was hitting .240/.338/.380 for Altoona this season in 74 games. Joe just recently returned for a dislocated finger that kept him out for a month and he has been slow to get up to speed, hitting .161 with a .590 OPS during that time. Joe was rated as our 35th best prospect during the mid-season top 50 update.

UPDATE 2:48 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

The Pirates tried to add Rodriguez at the start of the year, but he signed with the Braves for two years and $11.5 M. They’re now getting him for about $1.6 M for the remainder of the year, along with $5 M next year (and an additional $750,000 if they’re responsible for the bonus). Rodriguez is just returning from a car accident during Spring Training, and has been slow to return. However, he could help the Pirates in a number of ways over the next year.

The biggest way he could help is by splitting time with David Freese at third. We’ve seen this year that Freese can’t really handle an everyday role at this point in his career. Rodriguez provides strong defense, and could move around the field to provide that same defense. This would especially help in the outfield, as I think he’s a better defensive option than Adam Frazier, and definitely better in the outfield than Jose Osuna. I could see this leading to Max Moroff going down in the short-term, although Moroff should be back when rosters expand, and would have a shot at next year’s bench with John Jaso gone.

Connor Joe’s story didn’t work out the way the Pirates wanted. He was drafted 39th overall, but threw out his back in his first week in the system before playing a game. They had plans to try him behind the plate, and play him at third. After the injury, he was no longer an option behind the plate, which hurt his potential value, as his bat would have played well there. He did move to third base for a year, and showed some range and quickness, but was still a project. He looked fine defensively in the corner outfield spots and at first base.

The downside was that Joe hadn’t hit consistently enough to warrant a corner spot. He still shows a lot of raw power potential, and has boosted the power numbers this year with a .140 ISO. There still looks to be more power for him in the future. He also looks like a guy who should be hitting for a better average and getting on base more often, as he’s not overmatched with a 14% strikeout rate and a 12% walk rate.

He’s a good project for the Braves. We profiled him recently as a guy who would likely be a bench player, with the upside of an average starter, and the floor of a Quad-A guy. The Pirates, however, have a lot of those types of options for first base and the outfield, so they’re trading from an area of depth here.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    August 6, 2017 12:14 pm

    Although I have no objections to dumping Connor Joe, who was a terrible first round pick the day he was drafted, this trade makes little sense. The team is not a contender, so why bring in an aging veteran who takes at bats and opportunities from kids you need to find out something about – like Moroff, Weiss, Bostick, etc? Also, this team whines and complains about payroll, yet they take on over $6.5 million in payroll for a player who only has value on a contending team. We need to clean house in regards to management – we need a new GM, field manager, etc. Just stupid moves.

    BTW, can we please dump Hudson? He has to have cost this team 5-6 games this year. He can’t keep the ball in the ballpark, even against marginal major league hitters. Keep Nicasio, dump Hudson and LeBlanc – both are subpar.

    Moves NH made in 2016 and 2017 off seasons – Nova (good decision), Gosselin and Hudson (poor decisions) – who else did we sign or pickup? Boctick is a WIP, so jury is out on him.

  • So Sean Rod, Osuna, Frazier, Diaz are 4 bench spots for 17-18 I’m assuming…I know it’s waaay early but I can’t imagine much of a different scenario. IF that’s the start of the bench…that’s a strong group. Hopefully no off field issues bump them into something else.

  • Based on the level of prospect (Joe) and the risk of SRod’s ability to return full strength, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got some money along with SRod.

  • At least they got a major league player for Joe. Joe could not stay on the field and did not hit. I hope for his sake did can reach his potential with the Braves.

  • rickmontgomery
    August 5, 2017 7:10 pm

    Love me some Serpico. Welcome back, S-Rod. Let the cooler beware!

  • I like S Rod coming back. From all I’ve read he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and can hopefully help with his bat and versatility in the field.

  • Both appear to be gets for next season as well, which is good. We needed a bench bat and a bullpen arm going into next year, and this helps in both places.

  • Joe wasn’t developing. So, we traded him to the Braves to waste money on Srod.

    Coonington has made two interesting deals since the Pirates won 98 games. The team traded for Nova and traded Melancon. Every other deal has had the team digging through the dumpster. These efforts have produced nothing of lasting value and little short term value. This is another frivolous trade which will waste the one thing the Pirates will never have in abundance — money.

    Hurdle surely has a massive grin on his face.

  • Connor Joe couldn’t catch a break here. Hopefully the Braves are a new start for him.
    Better order some spare water coolers!

  • Meh on this move, though the few times I saw Connor Joe, I wasn’t too excited and he didn’t seem to have a position

  • Todd Tomasic
    August 5, 2017 5:09 pm

    This is silly. Everyone bitched about last years Walker disaster & this doesn’t
    look any different. S Rod had a severe knee injury. He has not hit at all. Got to
    think his range is shot. All this for 5 million?

  • Was my post taken down?

  • If he can still play as well as he did last year, it’s a great move. I’m just wondering if he still can.

  • What the F*Ck is this shit? an overpaid garbage utility infielder in exchange for an actual prospect?

  • People might disagree but I feel like in Kontos they just got Jared Hughes back. They are 3 weeks apart in age and ground ball relievers. Kontos a better FIP. Doesn’t throw hard at all though.

  • tim, I really respect your opinion. not on this one Sean R. is striking out 50% this year Lifetime 30 % He is a Miami u. product the steroid capital of baseball. he knew he had 1 contract left and he went for it. You know that more 50% of mlb players are still on steroids and they know how to pass the tests. Losing Joe isn’t big
    Between Hurdle & SR the pirates lost a big asset who hit 30 & 36 HRS In 2018 the contracts of Nova, Hudson Cervelli and SR will end Huntingtons career with Pirates

    • His strikeout rate this year is 40%, but that’s pretty meaningless, since it’s only 47 PAs right after an injury. His career strikeout rate is 25%.

    • You’re joking, right? These 4 contracts won’t make or break anything of substance, especially a highly successful GM’s job.

    • How do you mess up “facts?”

  • If Serpico is healthy this is a very nice move.

    • Probably in a pinch could also be used to protect Sid and Malkin
      in the off season.

  • Connor Joe was to me a suspect draft choice in round 2. He never displayed the kind of power that would place him on a fast track at a corner position. Never understood the selection. He never had a primary position to begin with.

    • He never displayed that power in games, but watching him, you could see it was there.

      I saw the same stuff in him that I saw in Kevin Kramer prior to this year. Kramer finally showed it in games before his injury. I wouldn’t count it out for Joe.

  • Sean Rod replaces Moroff.
    Kontos replaces Marinez.


    If so, it’s an upgrade, imo.

  • Any reports of any cash coming from ATL? The Pirates have $15-18 million coming off the books after this year. This move appears to take up $5 million of that. I don’t dislike having Serpico back, he had a career year last year, but the Pirates weren’t willing to pay him then. I worry this move will become the bulk of next years free agent signings.

  • Marinez and Danny Ortiz are DFA’d. LeBlanc back from bereavement.

  • domdidominic
    August 5, 2017 2:53 pm

    Wonder if Freese/Harrison are on the move????

    • I was thinking the same…first thought was Harrison.

      • If Cutch is still around on the day the Bucs trade Harrison, he’s going to be one really unhappy Pirate. He’s too much of a pro to go Operation Shutdown, but I imagine he’ll finally provide his real thoughts on management.

        I recognize most of y’all don’t care as Cutch is making $14.5mm, but the guy is still human and they’re close friends.

  • pirates apparently claimed george kontos too. the pirates wanted kontos in the xavier nady deal, if i recall correctly. finally get him

    neal is loading up now

  • Water coolers are quaking in fear in the Pirates dugout.

    • Given I’m surprised that Connor Joe fetched a serviceable major leaguer, I’m now confident that NH can convert Barrett Barnes into a half dozen shock absorbing coolers.

      • Yeah, I can’t believe if it is Joe they got a player like Serpico for him. Although you never know about S-Rod’s bat. I love watching him play defense though.

  • I can’t complain. Of any player in the majors that you can put anywhere on the field besides catcher and have them play well, he is probably the best as long as his power still plays somewhere near his career averages.

  • Is Elias Diaz involved?

  • On a serious note…I thought all along the Braves rushed him back in terms of his rehab stint. I’m sure he played a large role in it, but still.

  • At least we can have some good pregame bubble gum container dancing again. One plus right off the bat. Anything else? Just extra

  • losing joe means nothing. a 24 year old in aa with a low .700 ops. frees up a spot for someone else

    • piraterican21
      August 5, 2017 2:51 pm

      Another supplemental first round failure. Hopefully Hayes break that streak.

    • 25 y.o. in a week and a half. Rule 5 eligible. A bona fide injury risk. $1.25MM whizzed in the wind. Sounds like Barrett Barnes too.

      • at least NH is getting something for the rule 5 eligible players

        • He is getting a 6.5 million dollar salary dump similar to Bastinko. This trade reflects our FO feelings towards our ability to recruit FAs at our price. We could have had Rod for nothing if we were willing to offer this rate last yer instead we waited until he has a major accident and then pay that price. Pretty stupid from my perspective.

  • Conner Joe being the return is meh. I was never a fan of his and Serpico upgrades the bench. So I call this a win albeit a small one.

  • If true with Joe…one 1b down many to go

  • They finally made a move! Much needed upgrade over the current bench. Who is the odd man out now?

    • Too little too late. But hopefully he returns to form and can help bench next year.

      • I agree with you regarding this season, but at least he is here next year as well.

    • They’ll probably send Moroff down.

      • That’s who I was thinking too.

        • For sure. There is no spot for him at all with Frazier already fighting for time.

          • piraterican21
            August 5, 2017 2:50 pm

            Frazier cannot play the infield. I can’t comprehend how this guy was ever a SS. He is a bench player that needs to play 4-5 times a week and the first pinch hitter of the bench.

  • Wow did not see that coming. There is our fourth outfielder. Hope he can still hit.

    • piraterican21
      August 5, 2017 2:48 pm

      4th OF, starting 3b, back up SS and destroyer of water jugs that step out of line.

      • are you smoking crack?

        • piraterican21
          August 5, 2017 6:42 pm

          Not a smoker, which part was the crack smoking bit. He was our back up infielder last year to include SS, is the best outfielder on the current bench. Perhaps is the starting 3b part, I must confess, I dislike Freese way to much, so much that it doesn’t make sense, but Sean is a better fielder, athlete and once he gets his timing back an equal hitter and before you mentioned that last year was a fluke, make sure you looked at Freese stats for the last few as well. So Freese dislike aside, I believe that Sean would be a better option at 3b and Freese should be in the bench where he was signed to play.

          • I was joking, but not really. I appreciate you sharing your point of view. I don’t like Freese either, but as a backup 3rd baseman forced into full time duty, you really can’t complain about a .730ish OPS and the defense he’s played.

            1. Sean is not an outfielder, period. Lets just scratch that out. I can give my cat a glove and drop him in left field, but that doesn’t make him an outfielder. I’ve said it before, I’ll keep saying it. Josh is a better outfielder, and they are both awful.
            2. Sean is not, and has never been a better third baseman than Freese. Not defensively, not offensively. Look at average OPS between them. Defensive is harder to prove since Sean really has rarely played 3b for years but that in itself is really enough to prove my point.
            3. Freese is a mediocre hitter, but minus his garbage last year in the AL, he’s been pretty consistent. Freese’s fluke year was his cardinals postseason hero year, since then he’s been basically what he is today, a slightly below average to average ML third baseman. Sean has never been that in his whole career. He couldn’t even keep a starting job at 2nd base with a mediocre Rays team.
            4. Sean is, in general, a horrible hitter. I have watched him his whole career. He’s terribly inconsistent, strikes out way too much, and in clutch times, he’s just plain horrible even in his good years. The reason is because, like Pedro, he’s a mistake hitter. In an important part of the game, you put a righty in the game against him with a good offspeed pitch, and he strikes out……constantly. The whole league knows it. I was amazed at how well he did last year, but the Pirates knew he couldn’t repeat that….not at his age, and they weren’t going to pay for that.

    • he never could hit

  • hell yeah! bring back burnett too

  • I’ve seen Connor Joe mentioned.

  • Woo-hoo! Now let’s pry Joyce away from Oakland!

    • I think Joyce may be suspended for a while lol.

      • I just read about that, wow

        • Snowflakes offended again – oh wait, I could get in trouble too.

          • Assuming the term used was “f****t”, he should get some time off. Just not cool even to non-snowflakes.

            • Yeah regardless of people often being too sensitive, just no place for that kind of nonsense. Its offensive sure, but its also just a lazy and classless thing to say. Joyce is a professional, show a bit of composure.

              Also, i never understood the term snowflake…i personally love winter.

            • Michael Sanders
              August 11, 2017 12:30 pm

              Can’t believe he called someone a ferret!

          • Funny thing about freedoms, everyone has them. So, someone can say whatever they want, and it is legal. However, there can also be repercussions from other entities exercising their own rights. It’s not about being a snowflake, or not a snowflake, it’s about respecting everyone’s rights, not just ones own.