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Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Varitek still looking for work

Jan 26, 2012, 6:26 PM EDT

Ivan Rodriguez Getty Images

Brad Ausmus played until 41 despite rarely getting a ball out of the infield in his later years and an extreme lack of production never stopped the Royals from throwing money at Jason Kendall, but all of a sudden, experience isn’t counting quite as much on the catcher market.

Ivan Rodriguez, who landed a two-year, $6 million contract last time he was a free agent, is struggling to find a job this winter. The same goes for Jason Varitek, though in his case, it’s the lack of a throwing arm, not so much his bat, that’s costing him.

Rodriguez, who needs 156 hits to get to 3,000 in his career, isn’t considering retirement just yet. He told the Washington Times that he’s fully recovered from the oblique strain that limited him last year:

“The only thing I can do is just keep myself in good shape and see what happens, you know? That’s basically about it. It is tough. At the same time, what you going to do? You really cannot do anything. The only thing I can tell you is that I’m in good shape. I feel pretty good.”

The Cardinals, Rays, Marlins, Athletics, Mets, Rockies, Cubs and Pirates all have unsettled backup catching situations at the moment, but none seems especially interested in signing a free agent. Besides Pudge and Varitek, Ramon Castro and Ronny Paulino are struggling to find jobs as well. No one from the group figures to get more than a minor league contract.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Jan 26, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    The only thing I can tell you is that I’m in good shape. I feel pretty good.”

    ONLY in good shape? NOT, in The Best Shape Of His Life?

  2. crisisjunky - Jan 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Too bad the Stro’s already took a shot at Snyder, it seems like Houston would be a great fit. Cheap 2yr (long enough to get the needed hits) mentoring gig for Castro, playing enough to get 75 hits each year, segueing into a post career coaching position. God knows he could instill a little enertia into that moribund franchise.
    Perhaps back to the fish is the only thing left, latin Mecca and all……

    • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      If I were the Feesh (which I am in spirit, not that those clowns appreciate it), I would offer Pudge a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. If he has anything like a bearable year at the plate, his quest for 3000 hits could be something that sustains interest and helps secure a foundational fan base in Lil’ Havana and thereabouts. It’d be a cheap trick – and it’s not like there are a lot of competent backup catchers to be had anywhere else. The Feesh already have John Buck.

      • bigharold - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM

        The last time Rodriguez got more than 156 hits was 2006. So unless the Feesh are ready for a two year commitment he not doing it as a Feesh.

        Time to put the ol’boy out to pasture.

      • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        No pasture for him. I’ve seen his boat. He has better places to play where there are no meadow muffins to sully his Guccis. And anyway, stop acting as if you really think this is about baseball, Harold. This is about markeeting. I bet you even think the Republican primary debates are about us.

  3. bigharold - Jan 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    “Rodriguez, who needs 156 hits to get to 3,000 in his career, ..”

    That’s two years minimum at this stage of his career.

    Neither Rodriguez nor Varitek are even competent back up catchers any longer. If either of these guys was a 29 year old journeymen with similar skills they’d be looking for a coaches job or one as a car salesman. If a team signs either of these guys for their reputation or their ability to handle pitchers they will be sorry.

    • natstowngreg - Jan 26, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      Pudge can still catch and throw, even if he’s no longer a good hitter. Someone could use him. Not sure about Varitek.

      • bigharold - Jan 26, 2012 at 9:25 PM

        ” Someone could use him.”

        Whom then? Aside from his profoundly dismal offensive numbers what makes ANYBODY think that I-Rod has anything left?

    • The Baseball Idiot - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      They aren’t 29-year old journeyman.

      One is a future Hall of Famer, and the other was a key part of two World Series champions.

      So I guess I’m not really sure what your point was.

      • bigharold - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        There reputations aren’t going to mean anything when runners are stealing on them at twice the rate of a 29 year old journeyman. When they go oh-fer the game and kill one rally after another who much will their credentials be worth then?

        Both of these guys are WAY past it. It’s time they both started looking for another line of work because they are not competent MLB catchers anymore. They are trying to live off their past accomplishments and if it weren’t for those accomplishments nobody would take them seriously. And, there isn’t a chance that either can continue at anything close to what they once were.

        Giving them a roster spot because they were once very good catchers knowing that they aren’t and that there isn’t the slightest chance they might be very good ever again is bad baseball, .. that’s the point.

  4. bigzant82 - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Pudge please come to the mets we need all the defense we can get even if ya 41

    • bigharold - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      Don’t you think the Mets have enough things working against them already?

  5. papacrick - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    I wish my Tigers signed him as a back up over Lard. No way he can be worse. He’s responsible for Detroit’s revival while turd is the symbol of us blowing game 163 in 09′

  6. streatordave - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    I would love to see Pudge back in a Ranger uniform, even as a coach.

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