Bob Smizik: Another bizarre roster move

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The roster management of the Pirates, who open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, continues to operate on what might be called, to be kind, a peculiar level.

The latest move -- less than a week after the inexplicable promotion of Brent Morel -- is the decision to activate Wandy Rodriguez from the disabled list and start him Thursday afternoon against the Brewers.

There is no question Rodriguez has been a quality MLB pitcher and, when healthy, figures to be an asset to the Pirates’ rotation. But there is no indication he is healthy.

In four MLB starts, his ERA is 7.65 and his BAA is .306.

In two minor league starts, both at Class AA, his ERA is 10.38 and his BAA is .289.

Is that a man who should be pitching for a team that hopes to contend for a championship?

It’s not like the Pirates don’t have an obvious option. Brandon Cumpton has done remarkably well pitching in spot starts the past two seasons. Compare Compton’s statistics to those of Rodriguez.

In two MLB starts this season, his ERA is 4.26 and his BAA is .234

In four starts on the Class AAA level, his ERA is 1.04 and his BAA is .232

What’s more, is six MLB appearances, five starts, in 2013, Cumpton had a 2.05 ERA.

Cumpton would seem to be, at the very least, an ideal candidate to start for the Pirates until Rodriguez proves himself by having some semblance of success in the minors.

General manager Neal Huntington was able to look past the terrible rehab starts with this explanation of Rodriguez’s numbers:

“They’re indicative of some mistakes. He got hit hard. But within those innings are some good innings where the crispness was back. The breaking ball was sharp, the curveball was effective, the fastball was down. At the same time he also got hit.

‘’Sometimes a big leaguer on rehab is just a different adrenaline level, a different intensity level, it’s almost like a spring-training outing for them. They’re getting their pitches in, they’re getting their feel in. They may throw a breaking ball when they typically may throw a fastball. … You’d like to see everybody have success every time they step on a baseball field, but different guys approach it different ways.”

All true, but there is nothing there that explains why Rodriguez would get the start over Cumpton.


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