As expected, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez exercised his $13 million player option for 2014 on Friday, and outfielder Felix Pie was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.
The Houston Astros will pay $5.5 million of that, leaving the Pirates to pick up $7.5 million.
Rodriguez, who will be 35 in January, pitched just 622⁄3 innings in 12 starts before missing the final four months of the 2012 season with a flexor strain in his left elbow.
He was shut down for the season after two failed rehab stints, with the expectation he would be ready to go by spring training in 2014.
Rodriguez, who was acquired in a multiplayer trade in 2012, was effective until his injury with a 3.59 ERA and 46 strikeouts, an average of six per nine innings.
If Rodriguez is healthy next year, he will provide the Pirates a fourth starter in addition to Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, or a fifth if free agent A.J. Burnett decides to return.
The Pirates also have Jeff Locke, an All-Star in the first half of the season, and prospect Jameson Taillon, who could crack the roster next season.
First Published November 1, 2013 3:42 PM