With the departures of Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang, the Braves signed LHP Wandy Rodriguez amongst a handful of other candidates to fill their fifth starter spot. Rodriguez had an agreement with the Phillies in place earlier in the offseason, but it was nullified when he failed his physical. The Braves came in and swooped him up and so far it looks like this deal has the potential to be a great signing. The 36-year old lefty had a rough six starts while recovering from a handful of injuries with Pittsburgh last season, but looks to bounce back. From 2008-2013, Rodriguez had a sub-4 ERA in every season. Wandy is a valuable asset to Atlanta as he is a lefty, is on a minor-league contract and has maintained success at the Major League level for an extended period of time. With Mike Minor sidelined to start the year as well, I think Wandy is all but guaranteed a roster spot barring any setbacks. If so he will be set to earn $2 million. This deal reminds me a lot of the Braves’ signing of Aaron Harang last spring. The Braves are bringing in a veteran with experience and letting Roger McDowell work his magic to utilize what’s left of his arm. He will compete with Eric Stults, Manny Banuelos, Mike Foltynewicz, Cody Martin and others for two rotation spots on Opening Day. With Rodriguez’s experience as well as the way he is pitching I fully expect him in Atlanta come April. He has only given up a lone run so far in 8 innings this spring, and has limited hitters to a .207 batting average. This is clearly a small sample size, but I personally saw him pitch Saturday against the Astros and his stuff looked great. This is one of many moves John Hart made this year that really impressed me and I’m excited to see what Wandy can offer the club this season.
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