When Sean Rodriguez was acquired as a part of the Scott Kazmir- Los Angeles Angels deal, there was plenty of reason to be excited. Rodriguez had hit 29 home runs and was slugging .616 through 103 games at Triple-A, and he had topped 20 homers in two other minor league seasons. Since becoming a part a member of the Rays Rodriguez hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations, but he has still been a nice piece thanks to his versatility and ability to add some pop to a lineup against lefties. But, are Rodriguez’s days as a Ray numbered?
Rodriguez is in the midst of his best season in the big leagues in large part due to an increase in power. He is hitting .215/.266/.466, not standing out for average or on base capabilities, but certainly impressing with his pop. Despite the increase in power, Rodriguez’s value remains limited. With those contact rates, the increase in power is likely too good to be true. Rodriguez’s splits are also fairly neutral this year, but that is a product of a small sample size, and Rodriguez is always going to struggle against righties. He does add good value with his versatility- something the Rays do love.
The reason that Rodriguez’s time with the Rays might be limited is because of the plethora of versatile talent that the Rays have within their system. At the big league level the Rays have the king of versatility in Ben Zobrist as well as a player with more upside than Rodriguez in Logan Forsythe. Then at the Triple-A level, the Rays have Nick Franklin, who also has much more upside than Rodriguez and is knocking on the big league door. Tim Beckham is also close to being big league ready and he could end up a similar player to Rodriguez- a solid versatile player that could add a bit of pop against left-handers. The Rays shouldn’t be worried about depth either because both Cole Figueroa and Vince Belnome can fill-in as utility men if needed. At the minimum the Rays could match Rodriguez’s production with a slightly cheaper player, but swapping out Rodriguez for Franklin in the future likely makes the Rays a better team.
Another reason that Rodriguez could be replaced is the fact he is a free agent after 2015. He still has value as a player, so why not flip him for something in return while you still can? It isn’t as if Rodriguez is a particuarly great deal anymore- he’s heading into his last year of arbitration this year and will make close to what he’d receive on the open market. With the Rays having so much versatile talent, it makes plenty of sense to try to get something of value in return for Rodriguez while also replacing him on the roster with a cheaper player.
It is definitely logical that Sean Rodriguez could be dealt this offseason. He has been a nice piece for the Rays over the past few years, but his roster spot is becoming redundant. The Rays have players that are just as good, if not better that could take his place and do so at a cheaper price. All-in-all, don’t be surprised if this is Rodriguez’s last stretch in a Rays’ uniform.