Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has a story today about how Ivan Rodriguez wants to continue to play — and continue to play in Washington — after his two-year contract is up after this season.
Given that he’s now completely ineffective with a bat and can’t stay healthy, one may ask what the value proposition is for the Nationals in keeping Rodriguez around. You’ll be shocked to learn that his agent, Scott Boras, has an idea about that:
“I think Pudge brings so much to a team. He and [Stephen Strasburg] have a very good relationship. Pudge has answers, because he’s been in the league so long. And his answers are very, very refined and simple to a lot of players. He can go up to a lot of players and say, ‘Look, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Do this, do that. If you do this, this is what happens.’ And the players believe it, because he’s been in the league that long. I think there’s tremendous value. I see pitchers – great young arms – come into the big leagues, and it’s so difficult to develop them if there’s not a veteran catcher, or if there’s not a veteran No. 1 starter on the team.”
Can anyone tell me how Pudge couldn’t provide all of that value to the Nationals as a coach? And while we’re at it, in light of the Brian Schneider article yesterday, did someone declare it “sing the praises of backup catchers” week and not let me know? Because I have a “David Ross is your Daddy” post I’ve been saving for just such an occasion.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.