Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Simon Bar Sinister
2008-07-31 06:55
by Alex Belth

I've always enjoyed rooting against Pudge Rodriguez.  He makes a good villain.  It starts with the eyebrows, arched in a comically sinister fashion.  Pudge is both good-looking and almost grotesque, he's like a Warner Bros. cartoon come to life--a bona fide Taz Devil. On the field,  he's a "winner," a guy who helped the Marlins win a World Series and later, helped put the Tigers back on the map.  He's a Hall of Fame catcher, not just a great fielding catcher in his day, but a legendary one.  He's also a guy who likely took performance-enhancing drugs when he was with the Rangers.  He's never been busted, but you have to figure he just turned out to be one of the lucky ones.

Still, he's an entertaining player to watch.  He might not be as strong defensively as Jose Molina, but he's still a presence out there.  Plus, he's charismatic.  I don't think any of us would be surprised to see him collect some big hits in August and September. 

So, I'm pleased to see him on the team, warts and all.  And while I'm not sorry to see Kyle Farnsworth's time with the Yankees come to an end, I was moved by his show of emotion yesterday.  I felt for the big lug, which is basically how GM Brian Cashman portrayed him--as a good guy.  I've always been so frustrated by his performance that I never paid much attention to his personality.  He wasn't effusive with the press so it was really hard to tell if he had one.  

Now, he's gone.  One big, bad guy out, another bad guy in. 

Hot dog.   

2008-07-31 07:37:47
1.   Alex Belth
Griff to the White Sox pending approval...
2008-07-31 07:37:53
2.   underdog
This subject header called out to me for some reason.
(I guess I could speak in rhyme-- nah, just teasin'.)
2008-07-31 07:41:22
3.   Raf
0 I've always been so frustrated by his performance that I never paid much attention to his personality. He wasn't effusive with the press so it was really hard to tell if he had one.

"The best thing is Boston has to come in here next," he said. "It's the smell of victory they've got to smell. You can print that." - Kyle Farnsworth, after the Yanks clinched the AL East in 2006

Good enough for me :)

2008-07-31 07:42:15
4.   dianagramr

"Oh where oh where has my Kyle Farnsworth gone .. oh where oh where can he be?"

(its scary the things I can still remember from my childhood TV days)

2008-07-31 07:45:02
5.   Cliff Corcoran
I remember when Rodriguez became the first player in the majors who was born in the '70s. Feels like a lifetime ago.

Yeah, I've never much liked him either. He always came off as something of an overrated, self-absorbed hot-head. A guy with a reputation of calling fastballs to benefit his chance of throwing out runners rather than because that was the right pitch to call at that point in an at-bat. A guy who won the 1999 MVP when both Jeter and Pedro were head and shoulders better than him that year.

Still, the guy's a totally legitimate Hall of Famer, and a serious upgrade over Molina at the plate, even in his diminished present form. And for all of the words wasted on players who are "winners," Rodriguez's effect on the '03 Marlins and the Tigers' turnaround leading up to '06 seemed real enough to me. Heck, he was even on every playoff team the Rangers ever had.

Interesting footnote there: every year Rodriguez made the postseason, he wound up facing the Yankees. Losing three straight with Texas, then beating them with the Fish in the '03 Series and the Tigers in the '06 ALDS. The only time he really had what could be called a good series against them, however, was his first shot in 1996.

2008-07-31 07:46:56
6.   rsmith51
I am surprised that Steinbrenner hasn't tried this...

Pay someone to not play. Perhaps the Yanks can work out a deal with Ortiz and Beckett or Lackey and Vlad.

2008-07-31 07:51:08
7.   JL25and3
5 "A guy who won the 1999 MVP when both Jeter and Pedro were head and shoulders better than him that year."

IMHO, so were Roberto Alomar, Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra. At least.

2008-07-31 07:52:18
8.   Raf
6 Pay someone to not play.

I have a "Carl Pavano" on line 1...

2008-07-31 07:57:52
9.   JL25and3
6 I'm willing to save them a lot of money. I'll agree to not play in the NFL, and they'd only have to pay me $5M.
2008-07-31 08:01:23
10.   Sliced Bread
I'm more excited about the trade today than I was yesterday, but I'm honestly not expecting too much from Ghost of Pudge. Definitely some big hits, and mostly solid d from our new rent-a-villain.

The Pinstriped Pudge will hardly resemble the otherworldly beast from our dusty old comic books, but he's probably still a guy you can count on if you're planning a dastardly caper.

2008-07-31 08:14:16
11.   Travis08
5 Wilson Alvarez (born March 24, 1970) was the first player born in the 1970's to play in the majors, not Ivan Rodriguez.

Alvarez's debut on July 24, 1989 couldn't have gone worse - single, HR, HR, walk, walk, removed from the game, demoted to AA. Five days later, he was traded (with Sammy Sosa and Scott Fletcher) for Harold Baines.

Steve Avery, Rich Garces, and Johnny Guzman also debuted before Ivan Rodriguez did.

2008-07-31 08:17:23
12.   bp1
10 My first reactions yesterday:

1. I don't like Pudge. Never did. Gonna take awhile to warm up to him, I guess.

2. How will the pitchers react? They seemed to love Molina. Changing catchers mid season is a bit more tricky than changing left fielders, you know? There are other aspects beyond can the guy hit and throw out runners. Moose, in particular, is a bit finicky about his catcher and I'm hoping this doesn't fry his circuits.

3. Poor Jorge (already posted in other thread). Double wammy for him yesterday. Someone should slip him a couple happy pills today along with his pain meds.

4. Cashman and H&H are telling fans that they are in it to win this year. What more can a fan ask for? Meanwhlie, you can hear the crickets in the Mets front office.

5. I was watching Rasner's game the other night and I couldn't help but wonder if Chad Moeller is thinking 'Hey - I might actually play in the post season this year'. Today he's probably thinking 'Guess not'.

2008-07-31 08:21:41
13.   Raf
12 The pitchers'll be fine. It's not going to make a difference whether they pitch to Molina, Pudge, or Moeller. Moose'll be fine too; he has thrown to a number of different catchers over the years.
2008-07-31 08:24:05
14.   JL25and3
12 , 13 I'll bet Moose will be pitching to Molina.
2008-07-31 08:25:17
15.   Sliced Bread
[12-13] Moose and Molina will probably stay together mostly.
2008-07-31 08:27:55
16.   Raf
14 ,15 If that's the case, it will be more of an issue of giving Pudge rest, than a personal catcher.
2008-07-31 08:34:10
17.   Sliced Bread
16 I'm not so sure about that.
Moose mostly worked with Nieves at the start of last season, and has preferred working with Molina this year.
Moose might not like working with type-A catchers.
Whatever the case, Girardi would be wise not to mess with the Moose-Molina mojo.
2008-07-31 08:56:29
18.   doslobo38
I feel a little bad for Molina and certainly hope he gets a fair share of playing time. His defense is great and despite his batting average and generally approach at the plate (he looks like such a depressed sad sack evertime he steps in the batter's box) he has come through with some clutch hits for us, including a number of extra base hits.

Overall though it's about making the post season and Rodriguiz should give us a better chance with his offense.

2008-07-31 08:56:38
19.   Bama Yankee
When I first read about the trade last night, I had mixed feelings. Along with Sliced, I have been one of the few Farns supporters around here. Not sure why I like the guy, but I do. Also, I agree with those who find it hard to root for Pudge. But when I quickly read through all the comments last night, I started to get on board with the trade. This was partly due to the stats but mostly because I'm an optimist (guess that's why I'm a Farns fan... "Hey, he can bring it up there at a hundred, ya know. He'll get it figured out sometime.")

So, after reading all the opinions on the trade from the Banter faithful, I turned off the computer and headed to bed. I told my wife about the deal and her reaction was not what I expected:
Me: "Honey, the Yankees traded Farnsworth for Pudge Rodriguez"
Wife: "What! Why did they do that?"
Me: "We need a catcher who can hit to replace Posada"
Wife: "But we need pitching, too."
Me: "I know, but you never know what you're gonna get from Kyle"
Wife: "But he's been doing better this year."
Me: "Yes and that's why we were able to trade him for a quality catcher"
Wife: "But I like Kyle"
(I couldn't argue with that one, so I tried to go in a different direction)
Me: "Pudge is a huge upgrade over Molina..."
Wife: "But I like Molina"
Me: "Molina is not going anywhere, he's just going back to his backup role"
Wife: "We already have a backup, his name is Chad Moeller"
Me: "Uh, Moeller is probably gone"
Wife: "But I like Moeller"

At this point I realized that my wife could never be a GM, she gets too attached to the players. She doesn't like change. The trades where we give up prospects that she's never heard of is okay because she's not attached to those guys.

I finally played the trump card...
Me: "Honey, had you rather us just go out and sign Barry Bonds?"
Wife: "If this deal helps us not sign Bonds, then I'm all for it"
Me: "I thought you'd see it my way"
Wife: "But I still like Kyle...and Moeller."

2008-07-31 08:57:55
20.   Raf
17 Given Posada's game logs for 2007, it would appear that a few of his days off lined up with games that Mussina started. On several days he didn't start, he wound up behind the plate after PH'ing.
2008-07-31 09:00:16
21.   doslobo38
19 Yeah the logic of wives is immeasurable, my wife is still upset that Brett Gardner got sent down ("but I like Brett he's like the team's little mascot")
2008-07-31 09:02:30
22.   JasonO

Great call on the Marvel book cover...I got that book in 1981 when I was nine years old...I must admit I was impressed when the Surfer turned down Mephisto's offer to be reunited with Shalla Bal.

2008-07-31 09:03:57
23.   Bagel Boy
Any chance the Yanks try to sign Pudge to a decent three year deal to coincide with Jorge's? They could split time behind the plate and since Jorge is the better hitter, he could spend the rest of his time at 1B. When Jorge catches, you try a guy like Miranda at 1B.

The point of all this is you get good insurance on Jorge not being right and you don't have to sign a 1B (where the quality drops significantly after Teixeira's megadeal.)

2008-07-31 09:07:21
24.   Zack
I don't feel bad for Farnsworth or Molina. Molina played a lot more than he should ever have, and I'm sure he knows it. Farnsworth drove everyone crazy for 3 1/2 years and is being paid an egregious amount of money for not being very good. A few months of decent if shaky production doesn't change that.

I've never liked Pudge and often actively rooted against him, but facts is facts and he's a Yank now and much better than Molina.

And onto the on/off topic of the trade for Manny, with the latest reports having the Sox only trading Manny and paying his salary, and getting Bay and Grabow in return (not that Grabow is all that great), the trade again becomes a win for the Sox. If they are throwing in a legit prospect, its not as much.

To me, the Sox would not only be making something out of a bad situation where they have almost no leverage, but they would be replacing "most" of Manny's production, in theory. While the Yankees will continue to have no outfield for next year (Nady/Damon/Melky/Matsui is not too promising), the Sox will have a very very productive one and a whole lot of free $ to spend on CC

As I have said, I simply don't see the drop off from Manny to Bay as costing them all that much. Sure, Manny crushes the Yanks, but over the course of the rest of the season, I don't think it will impact them all that much

2008-07-31 09:10:24
25.   Raf
23 I guess the question is does Pudge want to be a BUC? Also, where does Pudge see himself? I find it a bit difficult that he would take "BUC money" if he can get a starter's deal somewhere else. Also, they're committed to Molina for another year. Posada's value is that he's an offensive catcher, so I don't think they'd want to move him to another position just yet.
2008-07-31 09:14:28
26.   Shaun P
23 I hope not! Backing up a 37-year-old catcher with another 37-year-old catcher, especially one who's caught a ridiculous number of games over the last 18 years, sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Especially when you're talking about doing that when both of those guys are 38 and 39 as well.

2008-07-31 09:19:15
27.   Bagel Boy
25 I don't think they need to pay him BUC money nor call him a BUC. He's a catcher. Give him $21M over three years. If both him and Jorge are healthy at the same time, and that's a big if, you give Pudge 4-5 starts a week at catcher and Jorge 2-3. Then Jorge gets 2-3 starts at 1B a week. He gets more ABs because he should get more ABs.

The point is we have no idea how healthy Jorge is until the season starts. Better to plan for the worst case. In the process, they might actually save money in not signing a 1B.

2008-07-31 09:20:46
28.   vockins
19 My wife's response:

me: "Hey, Farnsworth got traded for a better catcher."
wife: "Farnsworth's the guy with the camo glasses and the tribal tattoo on his arm?"
me: "Yes."
wife: "Good. He seemed like the Ted Nugent of pitchers."
me: "Ted Nugent is a moron, but he put out some good records."
wife: "Well, Farnsworth can go make a record now. I do not want to see Ted Nugent or Kyle Farnsworth on my television and now I won't. Who is the catcher?"
me: "Ivan Rodriguez. He's old but he's going to the HOF."
wife: (finding Ivan Rodriguez pictures online) "He looks angry. Like the other guy that's hurt."
me: "Jorge Posada?"
wife: "Yes. I think a person must be angry to play catcher."
me: "You might be on to something there."

2008-07-31 09:23:09
29.   Bagel Boy
26 I know. But really what other choice do they have? They just don't know if Jorge will be healthy enough to throw until it's too late. And Molina for a full year isn't an option.
2008-07-31 09:42:10
30.   Shaun P
29 Hope Cervelli's lost year of development doesn't impede him from being Molina's backup until Posada is ready to go in '09?

Or that Cervelli is ready to assume the backup role himself come July '09?

2008-07-31 09:46:19
31.   JL25and3
27 3 years for Pudge? He's like a car with 190,000 miles on it; even if it's running well today, you know it doesn't have much of a future. If it breaks down completely tomorrow you're not surprised - and you sure don't invest any money in it.

Pudge has caught more games than anyone except Boone and Real Pudge. His expiration date is long past. It doesn't matter that he's still good today, you have to assume that he has no future.

2008-07-31 10:19:12
32.   cult of basebaal
3 years for pudge? screw that, take the 2 picks and giggle.
2008-07-31 10:28:22
33.   Bagel Boy
31 Maybe not three years. It depends on other teams' offers. Still 2 years and an option seems doable.

I just can't see 30 . There's no safety net there.

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