On Saturday, August 5, the Pittsburgh Pirates re-acquired utilityman Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for first base/outfield prospect, Connor Joe.
This trade came as a bit of a surprise to me as Rodriguez signed a two-year deal with Atlanta last offseason and looked to be a helpful piece for the Braves. An offseason car accident forced him to undergo shoulder surgery, costing him the first three and a half months of the season. Since coming back, he has hit .162/.326/.351 in 15 games with two home runs and three runs batted in. This trade makes sense from the Braves’ perspective because they are able to rid themselves of Rodriguez’s contract that pays him just over $7 million between the rest of this season and next. Freeing his roster spot also helps the Braves to play younger players such as Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo as they continue to rebuild.
In return for Rodriguez, the Braves acquired prospect Connor Joe, who was at AA at the time of the trade. While in AA, Joe has hit .240/.338/.380 in 74 games with five home runs and 30 RBIs. He certainly not a highly ranked prospect but gives the Braves more organizational depth at a position they could be lacking it.
For the Pirates, this trade makes all the sense in the world. They certainly have familiarity with him after he played two seasons with them. Last season he set career highs in batting average, on-base and slugging percentages, home runs, RBIs, and OPS+. With the Pirates getting very little production out of third base, injuries across the field, and the ongoing problems involving Jung-Ho Kang, the Pirates get some stability this season and next with this trade. It also helps that they had to give up very little to get Rodriguez back.
Even though the trade deadline was July 31, teams can still make trades involving players who clear waivers or who have had claims made on them. In this case, the Pirates placed a waiver claim on Rodriguez allowing the two teams to come together on a deal.