The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the position of being buyers rather than sellers this season, and that was demonstrated on Tuesday when the Pirates acquired 33-year-old starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez for three prospects.
In recent years, the Pirates have been hopelessly out of the race by the time the trading deadline approached, but they entered Tuesday's action 1 1/2 games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. If the season ended today, the Pirates would hold one of the wild-card postseason spots.
So the Pirates were willing to give the Astros outfielder Robbie Grossman and left-handers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain, all of whom are among the Pirates top-rated prospects, according to MLB.com.
In return, the Pirates get Rodriguez, who is 7-9 in 21 starts for the Astros, with an ERA of 3.79.
Houston is also sending Pittsburgh cash to cover part of the $18 million remaining on Rodriguez's contract.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Astros are paying $12 million of that salary.
As a result, the Pirates must pay Rodriguez $1.7 million this season, $8.5 million next season and $7.5 million in 2014 if Rodriguez exercises his option for the final year.
"I understand for the Astros organization, they want young guys," Rodriguez said, according to MLB.com. "Pittsburgh is very, very good and playing really good now."
Since the start of the 2009 season, Rodriguez ranks third among NL left-handers in wins (43) and strikeouts (626). Only Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and the Phillies' Cole Hamels rank ahead of him.
"Wandy Rodriguez is a quality starting pitcher and we are pleased to add him to our club," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "Wandy has quietly ranked among the upper echelon of Major League starting pitchers the last three seasons in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts among other categories. We believe he will be a solid addition to our rotation for the remainder of this season and beyond."