Pudge Rodriguez wants to stay in Washington

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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.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.