When the Astros signed Ivan Rodriguez yesterday, common sense finally prevailed. The Astros needed a starting catcher because the combination of Humberto Quintero, JR Towles, and Lou Palmisano was not going to get it done behind the plate. And Rodriguez needed a place where he could start and prove to all the detractors that he can still be a productive player even in his "advanced age."
So as we can see, this was a great fit for both sides. For 1.5 million bucks, the Astros got their starting catcher, who just happens to be one of the best catchers of all time and a certain hall of famer. This signing is a very low risk move for the Astros, who have nothing to lose by signing Rodriguez to a one year deal. Even though Pudge has declined a lot from his glory days with the Texas Rangers, there is a lot to like here from the Astros perspective.
But the question remains: does Ivan Rodriguez make the Astros contenders in the National League?
And the answer is...no. Rodriguez brings certain intangibles to the table: defense, leadership, power, batting average; but he cannot pitch.
The fact remains that the Astros pitching staff is a mess. Aside from Roy Oswalt, Jose Valverde, and hopefully Wandy Rodriguez, there is just not much talent there. It's hard to see a team competing for a division title when the rotation consists of a washed up Mike Hampton, Brian Moehler, and whatever is left of Brandon Backe.
The key to the Astros competing this season has little to do with Ivan Rodriguez...unless he can fix their terrible pitching staff.