In a move that’s slightly reminiscent to the prude deals that came to define the Theo Epstein-era in Boston, the Chicago Cubs have acquired hard-throwing right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez from the Washington Nationals for minor league hurler Ian Dickson.
After being designated by the Nationals on June 4, due to the same inconsistent control problems that has plagued him throughout his career, Rodriguez finds himself in his third professional organization. After beginning his career in Oakland, the Nationals acquired the right-hander as part of the package for slugger Josh Willingham.
Rodriguez, who’s eligible for arbitration for the first time following 2014, has shown an elite ability to miss bats both during his time in the minors (11.6K/9) as well as his work in the big leagues (9.3 K/9). The problem, however, is his control — or lack thereof. He’s averaged more than six free passes per nine innings in his entire professional career.
And while Rodriguez isn’t likely to start pounding the zone with any type of regularity any time soon, he is, however, a big league-ready arm — unlike the 6-foot-6 Dickson, a former 35th round pick.
Dickson has thrown just 98 innings in pro ball and owns some run-of-the-mill-type peripherals: 7.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. And it’s very likely that he’ll turn 23 before the time he even reaches High-A.
This isn’t a franchise changing move for the Cubbies– clearly. But what it does is add a potential high-ceiling arm — Rodriguez’s fastball has averaged 98 mph throughout his career — for a player that’s likely to be out of baseball in two or three years. It’s savvy, really, trading a replaceable minor leaguer for someone that has even a little bit of big league value.
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