The Pittsburgh Pirates have been busy on Thursday, making three moves with their pitching staff in hopes of improving a group that currently ranks 18th in the majors in ERA. The team announced that they have claimed right-hander Josh Wall off waivers from the Angels while designating lefty Wandy Rodriguez and righty Phil Irwin for assignment.
Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Astros for three prospects at the 2012 trade deadline, was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts with Pittsburgh so far this season, leading to team's decision to part ways with him. The southpaw is earning $13M this season ($5.5M from Houston and $6.5M from Houston), so any team that picks him up would likely have to cover at least part of the more than $5M that he is owed for the rest of the season.
The Yankees, who recently lost Ivan Nova to season-ending Tommy John surgery, have historically shown interest in Rodriguez and could pursue him if the Pirates are willing to eat a significant chunk of his remaining salary. Because of Rodriguez's high price tag, he is unlikely to be claimed on waivers, meaning that a release is the most likely scenario. In that case, he would become a free agent who could be signed for the pro-rated major league minimum, with the Pirates picking up what is left on his contract.
Wall, 27, will head to Triple-A Indianapolis for the Pirates after posting a 4.22 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Angels' Triple-A affiliate. He made two major league appearances this year, allowing six earned runs in one inning and raising his career major league ERA to 15.15 in just 13.2 innings of work. The Pirates are the fourth team for Wall in the last calendar year; he was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers in last summer's Ricky Nolasco deal before being claimed in October by the Angels and today by the Pirates.
Irwin, also 27, was 1-2 with an 8.72 ERA in ten appearances (two starts) for Triple-A Indianapolis this season after breaking into the majors and making one appearance last year. He is a likely candidate to clear waivers and be sent outright back to Indianapolis.