MLB Free Agency: Why the Arizona Diamondbacks Need Ivan Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez is 156 hits away from 3,000 for his career. The former All-Star catcher won't call it quits after a two-year stint with the Washington Nationals. The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the market for a catcher behind Miguel Montero, and the market is sparse.
Rodriguez highlights the catchers available for the Diamondbacks, and if he is willing to accept a backup role then he should be one of their top priorities. His offensive numbers have slowly fallen since 2008, but his fielding remains top-notch.
Here are the reasons why Arizona should go get Ivan Rodriguez:
Ivan Rodriguez wouldn't replace Miguel Montero. He would give the D-Backs depth behind their All-Star catcher. Henry Blanco is the current No. 2 catcher for Arizona, and Rodriguez would provide a definite upgrade there.
Buster Olney of ESPN states that Arizona is looking for an upgrade behind Montero, and there aren't many options better than Rodriguez.
One area in which Miguel Montero has improved—and still can—is in picking off base-runners. His caught stealing percentage was .400 last year, a drastic improvement over his .256 percentage just two years ago.
Montero could learn from one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time if Ivan Rodriguez were to come to Arizona. Rodriguez ranked fifth all-time in caught stealing percentage through 2007 and is still among the best in the league.
His knowledge of the game would also benefit Arizona's young starting rotation. His experience would help in tough situations, and the Diamondbacks' pitchers would have confidence throwing to the veteran.
Ivan Rodriguez has more Gold Gloves than any other catcher to ever play the game.
In his last full season with Washington, Rodriguez had a fielding percentage of .995, his highest since 2006 with the Detroit Tigers (minimum 100 games played).
On nights where he would relieve Miguel Montero, the Diamondbacks wouldn't lose anything on defense. His offensive skills have dwindled, but he makes up for it with strong defense behind the plate.
Ivan Rodriguez would not put together a 156-hit season unless Miguel Montero suffered a Buster Posey-like injury. Even still, 156 hits in a season would be his highest since 2006 with the Detroit Tigers.
With that being said, 156 hits in a span of two years seems much more likely. Rodriguez had 106 hits in his last full year with the Washington Nationals (2010), good for 13th in the league among catchers.
Pudge may not reach 3,000 hits. At the very least, it would be an interesting storyline to track throughout the season.