One of the weirder decisions made by the Astros in Spring Training was the idea that Rule Five Draft pick Aneury Rodriguez should start the season off in the bullpen while Nelson Figueroa got the starting job. Figueroa "won" the job in Spring Training by virtue of his 7.43 ERA and 12/12 K:BB ratio. What I mean by that is, of course, the Astros handed him the job without even a chance given to Rodriguez and fellow Rule Five pick Lance Pendleton.â†µ
I'm not saying that spring training stats should be the main deciding factor for the job, but when you are a team that likely will not contend this season, I think the older unestablished player should clearly have to outperform his younger competition if service time isn't a factor. The Astros stood to benefit a lot more long-term from Rodriguez winning the fifth spot and Pendleton pitching in the bullpen then they did from Figueroa throwing 100 innings of a mid-4's ERA and drawing little interest at the trading deadline.
Thankfully the Astros have remedied this situation by giving Rodriguez his shot at the rotation. But before we play revisionist history, do remember that it cost them Pendleton, who has a 0.00 MLB ERA in 6.1 innings and a 1.59 AAA ERA in 5.2 innings so far this year. Meanwhile, the Astros have a pitcher on the roster who fans don't even want to see in long relief right now.â†µ
All for what? The slim chance that Figueroa would become a tradeable asset? Silly.â†µ