Ken Rosenthal reports on the reason the Pirates wanted to re-sign Sean Rodriguez, which was that they wanted to move Rodriguez into Josh Harrison's place and then trade Harrison. Trading Harrison this offseason remains a possibility, although they now no longer have an obvious replacement for Harrison (Alen Hanson probably doesn't count at this point, and Rosenthal notes that the Pirates don't want to move Jung Ho Kang to second after his knee injury). The Pirates also face stiff competition on the trade market with Ian Kinsler and Brian Dozier potentially available.
I'm not opposed to the idea of the Pirates trading Harrison, but it's hard to say whether it would be a good idea without seeing how the rest of the roster shakes out. A couple questions, though:
1. If the original plan was to replace Harrison with Rodriguez, was the $11.5 million contract Rodriguez received from the Braves prohibitive for the Pirates?
2. How much of this is just about dumping salary? Harrison makes $7.5 million in 2017, followed by $10 million in 2018 and at least a $1 million buyout in 2019. There's no problem with trading him and "reallocating dollars to other players," which is how Rosenthal described it. But after the Pirates essentially replaced Charlie Morton with an even cheaper Ryan Vogelsong last offseason, and traded two good prospects for the privilege of being out from under Francisco Liriano's relatively modest salary during last season, it's fair to be skeptical of how many dollars will actually be reallocated, and why. The Pirates seem to be getting into the habit of dumping these long-term deals anytime they become even modestly inconvenient. Harrison, despite his many faults, is a useful ballplayer who was worth his salary last season.