Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Catcher for Hire
Is there any baseball team out there that could find an extra space for a 14 time All-Star, 13 time Gold Glover, 7 time Silver Slugger Award Winner, MVP and World Series Champion? As it appears right now, apparently not. Pudge Rodriguez may be 37 years old, but he is proving in the World Baseball Classic this year that he is just as sharp as he ever was, hitting .625 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs so far. It would be wise for some team, any team, to give Pudge a look at catcher. I would still take him over most of the catchers in the majors right now.
There is no way that Pudge could not help any team that signs him. The man had a bad end of the season last year with the Yankees, and has lost a little power, but he is still a great leader, and a lot of younger guys could learn a thing or two from him. Even if he was signed as a backup, Pudge could provide defensive stability, a safeguard against base stealers because of his rocket arm, and a solid approach at the plate. He has also worked with some of the greatest pitchers in the game, including Nolan Ryan and Brad Penny, and could aid in the development of a young pitching staff. Pudge Rodriguez could be exactly what a young team needs to get over the hump.
I see Pudge as a perfect fit for a team like the Cincinnati Reds or maybe the Arizona Diamondbacks. He could help bring along their relatively young pitching staffs a la Crash Davis, drastically improve their defenses, and provide an upgrade on offense for two teams that could use it. However, if any team would be willing enough to loosen their purse strings a little bit, a great catcher and a great team guy could be theirs for a bargain. He may have been pudgy as a kid, but now he is one of the greatest catchers ever to play baseball. Give him a chance.