Sean Rodriguez, an extremely useful utility man the past two years in Pittsburgh, opted to leave the Pirates organization and sign with the Atlanta Braves this morning. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal broke the news late-Thanksgiving morning. Early reports show his deal is somewhere in the $11-12 million range over two years.
Rodriguez’s number won’t blare off the page; he’s amassed a .234 batting average with 67 home runs, 259 RBI and a decent .303 on-base percentage.
However, the ability to play virtually every position on the diamond — and he did so other than pitch and catch the past two years — is an abundantly convenient asset. Clint Hurdle needs to find a new player to fill Rodriguez’s advantageous versatility ready at a moment’s notice on the bench in 2017.
Many folks inside the Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays — Rodriguez’s previous employer — organizations often touted his power as an untapped potential, which they expect could produce 20-25 homers if he saw regular playing time. And by seeing increased time in 2016 (140 games — most in his nine-year career), Rodriguez slammed a career-high 18 home runs in just 300 at-bats.
Time will tell how much playing time the 31-year-old will receive with the Braves, but ESPN’s Buster Olney hinted at how often we may see Rodriguez on the field next season.
Braves' intended role for Sean Rodriguez is to mostly use him at second base vs. lefties, but he'll fill in at SS, 3B, OF, 1B, as well.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 24, 2016
Regardless of his playing time or successes in Atlanta, we’ll always remember Rodriguez for the time he took his 2015 National League Wild Card game angers out on a harmless, minding its own business Gatorade cooler.
It won’t take too long for Rodriguez to have a PNC Park reunion. The Braves, who will open up the Pirates home season on April 7, fly to Pittsburgh for a three-game series April 7 to April 9.
Update: Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports revealed Rodriguez’s deal is worth $11.5 million over the next two years, $5 million annually and $1.5 via signing bonus.
Joe Cinello covers Pirates material for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), Linkedin (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (jcin13).