1. Richard Rodriguez
With the Pirates’ ship sinking yet again, Richard Rodriguez could be the most desirable bullpen fixture at the trade deadline. This season, Rodriguez has pitched to the tune of a 1.71 ERA with 30 strikeouts. It’s true his strikeout rate isn’t as high as previous years, but he’s playing the best season of his career, all else considered. The 31-year-old is in his fourth full major league season as a reliever with the Pirates, and last year, Rodriguez’s arm did nothing but impress. In the shortened 2020 season, Rodriguez struck out 34 batters while only walking five in 23.1 innings pitched, and his incredible control makes him one of the most-coveted ‘pen arms this year.
Rodriguez been effective almost every year he’s been in the majors and his forgettable 2019 season is looking more like a fluke, especially after Oscar Marin came in as the new Pittsburgh pitching coach and forced him to drop his sinker. In high-leverage situations, opponents have just a single hit, and just two hits when he has men on base.
As the postseason draws closer and relief pitchers become possible trade chips for contending teams, the trade for Rodriguez could be as simple as a one-for-one. The Dodgers get Rodriguez, the Pirates get a much-needed catcher in prospect Diego Cartaya. Rich Rod shutting down batters and holding 1-2 run leads is a lot more valuable to a playoff-contending team like the Dodgers, whose bullpen arms keep letting the team down in games. The Dodgers should go after Rodriguez with everything they’ve got and finally bring some peace of mind to Los Angeles.