On Tuesday afternoon, the Astros agreed to a three-year deal with their staff Ace, Wandy Rodriguez. Over the years, Rodriguez has been a rare shining star in the Astros field of comets. But next year, he would have shined even brighter in the lackluster free agent market for starting pitchers. The deal is a bit surprising, as Rodriguez certainly would have cashed in next offseason.
He easily would have been the top free agent pitcher, followed by middle of the road starters Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, and C.J. Wilson. Not only will the other free agents command more money next offseason, but teams that make their starters available should receive a huge ransom via trade.
This deal doesn’t necessarily mean that Rodriguez will be playing in Houston for the next 3 years, however. Houston simply raised his value, and could now get an even better return in a trade. They won’t be competitive for several years, so trading Rodriguez to reload is a logical move. They’re not the only ones that just received a boost in trade value, either.
Teams that find themselves in need of pitching for 2012 will certainly explore the trade market. Look for rumors involving pitchers entering their last year, such as Zack Greinke and Chris Carpenter, to swirl. The Brewers might not be able to compete without Prince Fielder in 2012. With a weak free agent market, they could get back at least what they gave up for Greinke, by dealing him again in a year. The Cardinals may not be able to afford Carpenter’s $15 Million salary if they lock Pujols up to the huge deal that everyone is expecting.
This signing just made next year’s offseason much more interesting.