Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Varitek still looking for work

14 Comments

Brad Ausmus played until 41 despite rarely getting a ball out of the infield in his later years and an extreme lack of production never stopped the Royals from throwing money at Jason Kendall, but all of a sudden, experience isn’t counting quite as much on the catcher market.

Ivan Rodriguez, who landed a two-year, $6 million contract last time he was a free agent, is struggling to find a job this winter. The same goes for Jason Varitek, though in his case, it’s the lack of a throwing arm, not so much his bat, that’s costing him.

Rodriguez, who needs 156 hits to get to 3,000 in his career, isn’t considering retirement just yet. He told the Washington Times that he’s fully recovered from the oblique strain that limited him last year:

“The only thing I can do is just keep myself in good shape and see what happens, you know? That’s basically about it. It is tough. At the same time, what you going to do? You really cannot do anything. The only thing I can tell you is that I’m in good shape. I feel pretty good.”

The Cardinals, Rays, Marlins, Athletics, Mets, Rockies, Cubs and Pirates all have unsettled backup catching situations at the moment, but none seems especially interested in signing a free agent. Besides Pudge and Varitek, Ramon Castro and Ronny Paulino are struggling to find jobs as well. No one from the group figures to get more than a minor league contract.

White Sox, Rockies, “frontrunners” for Yasiel Puig

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Yasiel Puig, unexpectedly, remained unemployed for the entire offseason. But now, a week or so into spring training, it’s appearing as though he may soon have a job. That’s the word from Hector Gomez of Z101, who reports that the Rockies and White Sox have emerged as “frontrunners” to sign the guy.

Puig hit a .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds before being traded to the Indians. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, however, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). Definitely a down year overall, and a far cry from the sort of superstar performance he showcased when he first broke into the league, but he’s just 29 and still profiles as an above average big league outfielder, on defense and at the plate.

He’d certainly benefit from playing in the thin air of Colorado. He’d also look pretty spiffy in the White Sox’ lineup, though he’d likely have to assume a platoon role there. Which, given that he as better in that role toward the end of his tenure in Los Angeles, would not be the worst idea. He didn’t like it all that much, but at the moment, he needs to find a job.

Anyway, look for Puig to be off the market soon.