PITTSBURGH — After staying quiet at the deadline, Neal Huntington made several adjustments to the 25-man roster, headlined by a deal bringing back fan-favorite utilityman Sean Rodriguez.
Word broke about an hour ago regarding Rodriguez’s homecoming to Pittsburgh, first reported by Braves beat writer Mark Bowman. Several minutes later it became known the Pirates sent their former 2014 39th overall pick, Connor Joe, an infielder, to the Braves. Pittsburgh will take on the rest of his $7.5 million deal for 2018.
Source: The Braves have traded Sean Rodriguez to the Pirates for a catching prospect.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 5, 2017
Few thought Rodriguez would see a baseball diamond this year following an offseason crash. Nevertheless, “Serpico,’ as many refer to him, persevered and returned to the field on July 17. Since his comeback, his numbers do little to tell the whole story.
In 37 at bats, the 31-year-old is slashing .162/.326/.351. Not exactly the type of statistics management wants their big acquisition to possess.
However, Rodriguez brings more to the table. His leadership and likeability in a clubhouse that so desperately needs it may prove worthy enough as the Pirates embark on a quest to catch the division-leading Chicago Cubs.
And it’s safe to say Rodriguez is more than happy to be back in Pittsburgh.
Sean Rodriguez re: trade to #pirates: "They give you 72 hours to report, but, hey, we're only 4 1/2 games out! I'll be there tomorrow!"
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) August 5, 2017
The moves didn’t end there.
Henry Schulman, Giants beat writer, first announced that the Pirates claimed reliever George Kontos from San Francisco.
Blockbuster: George Kontos has been awarded to the Pirates on a waiver claim. #SFGiants
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 5, 2017
The general consensus around the game is that the Pirates landed a good one in Kontos. Due to miserable circumstances in San Francisco, Kontos saw much less than ideal scenarios when he entered from the bullpen more often than not, which didn’t help his pitching figures.
Through 51.2 innings, the 32-year-old right-hander amassed a 3.83 ERA and 55 strikeouts — 3.05 career ERA. He finishes his time with the Giants ranked 13th for most relief appearances (300) in six seasons.
Also, for a third and final move — as far as we know — Huntington designated for assignment reliever Jhan Marinez and activated lefty Wade LeBlanc.
Marinez, 28, logged 34 innings for Pittsburgh once arriving from Milwaukee, compiling a 3.18 ERA in his time there.
Adding Kontos and Rodriguez boosts the clubhouse’s veteran leadership, which was vital if the Pirates expect to compete with the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals down the stretch.
Pittsburgh sits 4.5 games back of the Cubs entering Saturday.
Note: Indianapolis Indians outfielder Danny Ortiz was designated for assignment too to clear space on the 40-man roster.
Joe Cinello covers Pirates material for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), Linkedin (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (@JCinello).