The Pittsburgh Pirates needed a strong finish to the 2013 to make it to the playoffs, but they did it without their left-hand starter Wandy Rodriguez. Expecting to return as good as ever, Rodriguez informed the Pirates that he will pick up his $13 million option for 2014.
The 34-year old had forearm problems and attempted a couple rehab starts, but it did not get better. In his 24 starts as a Pirate, Rodriguez has posted a 11-8 record with a 3.66 ERA. The lefty came to the Pirates from Houston in a July 2012 trade.
The Pirates have other priorities on their off-season to-do list. Tom Singer of MLB.com reports that the Bucs are hoping to resign RHP A.J. Burnett, outfielder Marlon Byrd, and shortstop Clint Barmes.
Burnett, reportedly is debating between one more year in Pittsburgh or retiring. If the Pirates are unable to retain Burnett it will affect their other potential off-season moves. A deeper pitching staff is a common off-season goal of most clubs. The Pirates, who are in the Central Division with the Cardinals who are loaded with arms, will need to find pitchers to keep pace with the reigning National League champs.
Byrd came from the Mets in August and proved valuable as a leader and spark plug down the stretch. Byrd, a free agent, will likely be courted by multiple teams this winter, but one would expect he would prefer to stay with Pirates are young and proved in 2013 that they know how to win ball games.
Barmes lost his starting job this year to Jordy Mercer, but the Pirates would still like to keep him, if nothing else but for his defense.
As the rules enforce, the Pirates have five days following the end of the World Series to negotiate with their free agents-to-be before other teams can start talking to them.