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Rangers bring back Ivan Rodriguez

Aug 18, 2009, 1:49 PM EDT

This offseason the Rangers traded Gerald Laird to the Tigers because they seemingly had a ton of MLB-ready catching depth in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez. Unfortunately that has all changed during the past five months.
Saltalamacchia is on the disabled list with an arm injury after hitting just .236/.293/.375 in 83 games as the Rangers’ primary catcher, Teagarden has been even worse while batting .198 as his backup, and Ramirez has struggled at Triple-A while missing time with a wrist injury. What was once a strength has quickly become a weakness.
Instead of overflowing with young catching depth that made the position one of the team’s biggest on-paper advantages, the Rangers rank just 10th in the league with a measly .664 OPS from their backstops. Their search for veteran help behind the plate has led them to the greatest catcher in franchise history, as the Rangers re-acquired Ivan Rodriguez from the Astros this afternoon for a player to be named later.
Rodriguez played in Texas from 1991-2002, during which time he was an All-Star and Gold Glover in 10 straight seasons while taking MVP honors in 1999. Unfortunately at 37 years old he’s now merely a shell of that Hall of Fame player, hitting .251/.280/.382 in 93 games with the Astros and .271/.299/.402 over the past three seasons. For comparison, Rangers catchers have posted a nearly identical .228/.287/.377 line this year.
Texas seems to realize his limitations, with T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reporting that “Rodriguez is coming as the backup catcher” and “understands” that Teagarden is the starter. My guess is that it’ll end up being more of a job-sharing arrangement than Sullivan suggests, but Rangers fans should be realistic. As far as stop-gap solutions go he’s not a bad one, especially if Saltalamacchia’s injury proves serious, but don’t expect Pudge to discover the fountain of youth in Arlington.

  1. Jamye Stewart - Aug 18, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    I’m so happy !!!!!!! I have not been to a Rangers game since Pudge left !!!!!! I’m so happy !!!!!!

  2. Chris - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    As a fan in Texas we don’t expect him to be the Pudge of 10 yrs ago…it’s an upgrade from Richardson who has no big league experience and if “we” are going to make a playoff run we need his leadership and he has a championship. It’s a great move. We don’t know what we gave up yet but it sure seems to be something we needed.

  3. Jim in Texas - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:19 PM

    Wonderful news in two respects ~ the Rangers need a dependable catcher ~ and Pudge wanted to finish his career with the Rangers. Salty is banged up, Teagarten couldn’t hit the ground with his cap, and Rodriquez brings experience, dependability, and a bat. Still, I was impressed by the rookie Richardson’s performance last night. Call it beginner’s luck, but he had a great game in catching five different pitchers with no misques. Batting .500 wasn’t too shabby, either. Pudge, we’re glad to have you back. We should never have let you go. Now if we can just get a dependable stick over at first, we might have a decent playoff contender.

  4. Joseph - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    I guess the Astros have just given up the ship they let one of the great men behind the plate go Good luck Pudge ………….

  5. Lance from Houston - Aug 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Astros trade another hall of fame player away! Good luck Pudge!

  6. Legalize Roids - Aug 18, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    Well if he finds more of the HGH that he left in Arlington, that whole ‘fountain of youth’ thing might not be that far off….

  7. Oscar - Aug 18, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    I’m so glad to have Pudge back in a Texas Uniform….he was one of the great initial great hispanic players to show up in baseball in the early 90′s……great to have you back Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez)….ensenyales como se hace el baseball!Just like the other Hispanic Tony Romo …2 greats in the DFW area….

  8. Kristin - Aug 18, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    If this is what Pudge wants, then good for him. Glad I got to see him when I could this summer in St. Louis! Ya’ll in Texas are lucky to have him. Hope we get to see him behind the plate, Please!!!

  9. D - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:44 PM

    Best catcher ever, period. No I am not a Ranger fan. Pudge is just the best.

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