It made sense that the Tampa Bay Rays designated Sean Rodriguez for assignment when they signed Ernesto Frieri to a one-year deal. It was a little strange to see a player with some value get DFA’d instead of traded without that procedure, but it made no sense for the Rays to lose another player to keep Rodriguez. After all, Rodriguez seemed like he would eventually be dealt anyway, and all the Rays are doing is speeding up that process.
The Rays have 10 days to trade Rodriguez or place him on waivers, and the key things we have to wonder are where Rodriguez will end up and how much the Rays will be able to get for him. Let’s gain some insight into both of those fronts right now. Let’s go through the MLB teams in reverse standings order–after all, teams with worse records have waiver priority if it comes to that–and see which to what extent each franchise will have interest in Rodriguez.
The team I traded Rodriguez to when I acted as Rays GM in a Winter Meetings simulation, the D-Backs are not as great of a fit right now. They have since signed Yasmany Tomas, giving them an outfield logjam of their own. A crowded infield mix reduces the likelihood of him heading to Arizona even more.
A fit here seems pretty clear. DJ LeMahieu has not hit much at all at second base the last two years, Justin Morneau could use a right-handed backup, and the team could always use more depth for when Troy Tulowitzki gets injured next. The Rockies should be very interested in Rodriguez at the right price.
The Rangers have many middle infielders, but Rodriguez could spot Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, and especially Mitch Moreland against left-handed pitching, and he could also provide depth in case the Rangers’ unproven options in left field don’t work out. However, the fact that the Rangers don’t need a middle infielder probably means Rodriguez won’t end up in Texas.
The Astros could use infield depth and outfield depth, not to mention the fact that Matt Dominguez was terrible in 2014 at third base. However, there aren’t a lot of obvious platoon situations that Rodriguez could help with and Rodriguez probably isn’t a realistic third base stopgap.
Oswaldo Arcia and Joe Mauer were weak against lefties in 2014, and Rodriguez could spot them on an occasional basis. In addition, Jordan Schafer and Chris Parmelee are currently in the mix to handle left field, and Rodriguez could platoon with either one of them. We should expect the Twins to look into Rodriguez.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have a million outfielders and don’t need infield depth. Count them out.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have a good amount of infield and outfield depth, and are a very right-handed team in general (hence why they signed Adam LaRoche). They don’t make sense for Rodriguez.
We know all about their young middle infielders, first base is locked down, and they have several backup outfielders. They shouldn’t pursue Rodriguez too seriously.
They are another very right-handed that has decent enough depth. Rodriguez is unlikely to be heading to Cincinnati.
The Marlins have been connected to him in the past, and there is uncertainty throughout their infield. Rodriguez could platoon with Garret Jones at first base or Derek Dietrich at second (if he can win the job himself).
San Diego Padres
Yonder Alonso, Seth Smith, and Will Venable could use help to varying degrees against lefties while Jedd Gyorko is a question mark at second base. Few of the Padres’ backups have Rodriguez’s trade record against lefty pitching and the team should have a relatively high amount of interest in him.
New York Mets
The Mets’ biggest need is an actual starting shortstop–otherwise, they have decent enough infield and outfield depth. Rodriguez doesn’t make sense.
While there’s no clear platoon opportunity for Rodriguez, the Braves just desperately need depth at second base and in right field. Obviously some more major moves are coming, but Rodriguez could definitely help them.
Scooter Gennett and Adam Lind don’t hit lefties, and Rodriguez would give the Brewers an option to platoon with them. They could also use depth at shortstop after Jean Segura’s rough year. The Brewers might be one of the favorites for Rodriguez.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have nothing happening at second base and could use corner outfield depth. The only reason that Rodriguez wouldn’t pique their interest more is that they need higher-profile options to fill both spots.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have a lot of outfielders and we have to expect that they will actually sign a starting shortstop.
David Murphy, Michael Bourn, and Jason Kipnis all have issues with left-handed pitching, and Ryan Raburn may not be able to help with that after his disastrous 2014. Rodriguez could fit as a player with the ability to replace any of them on a given night.
Righty-hitting outfielder is a need for the Mariners, and they could also use more depth at shortstop and DH. Especially for that last vacancy, the Mariners would prefer to sign a bigger bat that Rodriguez, but they can’t be completely disregarded as a suitor for him.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants need to figure out third base with Pablo Sandoval gone and might get some use out of a righty-hitting outfielder. However, San Francisco will probably make a bigger acquisition than Rodriguez and are unlikely to be his final destination.
A righty-hitting first baseman/outfielder could have some use to Pittsburgh, but considering they don’t need a shortstop or centerfielder, they can probably find a player who can hit more than Rodriguez.
The A’s desperately need middle infield depth, but they need a starter more than a player like Rodriguez.
Kansas City Royals
Rodriguez is no better than Christian Colon, so the Royals really don’t need him unless they feel that Colon isn’t ready to be an impact big league player.
The Tigers would do well to acquire another outfielder, but that outfielder isn’t Rodriguez.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rodriguez could give the Cardinals a platoon partner for Matt Adams at first base with the versatility to be a backup elsewhere. Given the Cardinals’ general depth, though, they won’t be pursuing him too aggressively.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have enough outfielders and backup infielders that Rodriguez doesn’t make sense.
If the Orioles don’t bring in another outfielder, Rodriguez could be a platoon partner for David Lough in right fielder, but don’t count on that happening.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels could use a righty-hitting backup outfielder, but those players are easy to find. They don’t need Rodriguez.
Overall, the teams that fit the best for Sean Rodriguez are the Rockies, Twins, Marlins, Padres, Braves, Brewers, and Indians, with the Brewers, Marlins, and Rockies especially standing out from the pack. Rodriguez’s versatility makes him worth a look for several different teams, and the Rays may find themselves getting a halfway-decent return for him because of that.