Blog Entry

Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:53 pm
NEW YORK -- The question has come up half a dozen times, just in the last week.

"What are the Red Sox going to do about their catching?" one scout or another asks. "They've got to go find a catcher."

No matter how many times the Red Sox say that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is getting better, scouts watching the team all come back saying the same thing. They've got to get a catcher.

How about Pudge Rodriguez?

Rodriguez is a back-up now with the Nationals, who are using Wilson Ramos as their starter. Rodriguez is hitting just .238, heading into Thursday's afternoon game against the Mets, but he has 14 RBI in 63 at-bats.

And, unlike Saltalamacchia, he's still a plus defender.

"He can really block balls in the dirt, and he can really throw," Nats manager Jim Riggleman said, echoing what rival scouts have said. "He's really at the top of his game defensively.

"He's a No. 1 catcher, who is in a backup role here."

That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

The Nationals have suggested to people that they're not anxious to trade Rodriguez yet, but it's hard to believe they wouldn't. The Red Sox keep suggesting that the Saltalamacchia-Jason Varitek combination will be fine, but it's hard to believe it will be.

And Rodriguez?

He smiled Thursday morning when I asked him about Boston.

"That's a good park to hit in," he said. "I've always hit well there."

Nationals people rave about how willing Rodriguez has been to accept his role, and to work with Ramos. Rodriguez raved about Ramos, saying, "He's going to be great. He's a very, very good catcher, and a good hitter."

But even at 39, Rodriguez doesn't believe he's at the end of his own career.

"I've got plenty of years left," he said. "I feel great. I can probably play 2-3 more years, for sure. I still love what I do."

He's also moving closer to his goal of 3,000 hits. Rodriguez entered play Thursday with 2,832 hits.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
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Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 12:05 pm

Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 12:49 am
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Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:40 pm

Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

Talent doesn't simply go away, so it could pay plenty of dividends down the line if everyone just exhaled and gave Saltalamacchia a full season before trading valuable assets for a 39 year old catcher.  After their early season stumble the Red Sox are playing just fine right now and can easily afford to carry a catcher who is still trying to find his stroke.  Plus, if anyone is worried about late inning defense at catcher they still have Varitek - he can't throw like Pudge Rodriguez, but he calls a great game and generally stops everything in the dirt.  For someone who was as highly thought of as Saltalamacchia was in the minors a little patience is in order.

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