Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Should the Twins Sign Ivan Rodriguez?

Yikes, Twins fans. Not good news about Joe Mauer.

From ESPN.com:
"We've got to figure out what's going on so we can get him back and get him on the field," manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins' 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. "This is another effort to try to figure out where we are at and what we need to do. He's not on the field yet. He's not able to consistently go out and do anything. Concerned? Yeah."
Wow. Those are some striking words from Gardenhire. The Twins need a productive Mauer both offensively and defensively if they are going to compete in the AL Central this season so this injury is already a major setback. Mauer brings so much to the table for the Twins that its tough to fathom this team seriously competing without Mauer...right now. He's the best player the Twins have and those simply do not grow on trees.

If Mauer is out for a significant period of time, the Twins would need to explore outside options. Mike Redmond is a solid backup catcher, but he has never been a productive regular for a extended period of time. He is a suitable backup for Mauer, but does anyone really believe that Redmond is anything more than a backup?

Enter Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge remains unsigned and unwanted by a majority for the league for some reason. The former all-world catcher is in the twilight of his career and not come close to putting up the gaudy offensive stats that he did with the Rangers. For that matter, Pudge has actually declined quite a bit at the plate, especially in the OBP department where Pudge has lived in the .300 area over the past few seasons. Simply put, that's unacceptable.

On the plus side, Pudge can still hit for a high average with some power. A .280 batting average with 10-15 home runs should not be out of the question for Rodriguez if he is given the chance to play full time.

But where Pudge really excels is with defense. The 37 year old Rodriguez is a 13 time gold glove winner, who can still get the job done. Pudge calls a very good game behind the plate, has great fundamentals, and has one of the strongest arms in baseball. Outside of the Molina brothers (Yadier and Jose), Pudge is still one of the best at throwing out would be base stealers (32% in 2008).

While Pudge leaves much to be desired at his diminished state, he would help the Twins remain competitive until Mauer returns. It remains to be seen if the Twins would actually pony up to sign Rodriguez, but that will be completely dependant on the extent of Mauer's injury. Hopefully Mauer will be able to get back on the field in the near future.

But if Mauer can't get back on the field, would Ivan Rodriguez be a good replacement?


Jason @ IIATMS said...

Ya know, that's a damn fine idea. Pudge is no longer "Pudge" in terms of productivity, but he could be a suitable sub until MauerPower is ready.

Pudge certainly won't cost much.

Though, heard some interesting scuttle about Pudge on the way home, how he's terrible about managing the pitchers... notably when there's a fast runner on 1b and he keeps calling for the fastball to give himself a better chance of throwing the runner out, no matter if the pitcher's best pitch is something other than the heater....

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Depends on how long Mauer is out, but Pudge certainly would be a decent replacement. The thing is that Mauer is what Pudge used to be, and Pudge is what David Ross is. There's a big difference, and the length of time will show that difference the longer Mauer is out.

Anonymous said...

Take it from a Tigers fan... you don't want Pudge. His playcalling last year was suspect at several points and he let a bit too many wild pitches get by. Don't get me wrong, I'd like him stinking up the Twins, but if you really want to compete against the Sox and Indians this year, you need to look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Okay what the hell is wrong with you people?! Ivan rodriguez is still "pudge". You cannot just take away his name because you are pissed off. Ivan is a legend with thirteen gold gloves. Sure mauer is younger but when he gets to be the age if pudge will you abandon him to?! You people only like the best player of the day, but when someone else beats out that player you move on. What ever happened to loyalty? I'm discusted at the comments that have been posted. Ivan has had three or four knee surgeries and is still playing ball. He is an inspiration so get off his back already!