Injury and the Nationals’ decision to give experience to younger players have made Ivan Rodriguez more observer than catcher for almost three months. During the final two series of the season, that will change.
The Nationals are planning to give Ivan Rodriguez two more starts, a source said. Rodriguez, 39, will start once this weekend during their final home series and once on the final day of the season in Florida, the final game at Sun Life Stadium. Rodriguez played for the Marlins in 2003 and led them to their second World Series title.
The games may nor may not serve as a Nationals’ sendoff for Rodriguez, whose two-year, $6 million contract expires at the end of the year. Rodriguez has repeatedly said he loves playing in Washington and could see himself ending his Hall of Fame career with the Nationals.
But the Nationals also have two young catchers in Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores. Some in the organization feel Jhonatan Solano could play as a backup catcher in the majors, and Derek Norris, one of their top position player prospects, also plays catcher.
Rodriguez is 158 hits from 3,000. While he has been a model teammate in a limited role this year, he may want to play for a team with more playing time available to chase a milestone that means very much to him.
Rodriguez remains an elite defensive catcher and his teammates rave about what his presence means in the clubhouse. He hit .212/.273/.322 in just 41 games this season as Ramos’s backup.
Whatever happens next season, Rodriguez has yet to play his last game behind the plate for the Nationals.