After being designated for assignment last week, Sean Rodriguez is headed to the Pirates, according to an announcement from the team. Tampa Bay will receive cash considerations and a player to be named later.
After signing relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri, Tampa Bay had to cut Rodriguez to make room for Frieri on the 40-man roster. Rodriguez had spent five years in Tampa Bay, primarily serving as the team's utility infielder. Rodriguez originally broke in with the Angels in 2008, appearing in 71 games over two seasons. Following the 2009 season, Rodriguez was traded to Tampa Bay as part of a deal that sent LHP Scott Kazmir to the Angels.
In five seasons with Tampa Bay, Rodriguez posted a .228/.300/.378 slash line, while appearing at every position but pitcher and catcher. Rodriguez had a career low .258 OBP in 2014, but posted a career high 12 home runs in just 259 plate appearances. As Rodriguez enters his final arbitration year, he will likely make $2 million in 2015.
Rodriguez will serve as the Pirates' utility man in 2015, which was a position that had previously been manned by Josh Harrison over recent years. Over the last four years, Harrison has appeared at 6 different positions for the Pirates, but a breakout year in 2014 has him locked in as the Pirates starting third baseman in 2015. For the 2014 season, Harrison posted a .315/.347/.490 slash line, which was enough to move incumbent starter at third, Pedro Alvarez, across the diamond to first base.
To make room for Rodriguez, the Pirates had to designate Gaby Sanchez for assignment. Sanchez, a former All-Star first baseman with the Marlins, struggled in his three years in Pittsburgh. After joining the Pirates in a trade deadline deal in 2012, Sanchez has posted a .241/.327/.385 slash line in 740 plate appearances.