As the Nationals slide further toward irrelevance in the standings, their veteran players will draw more and more consideration as trade pieces. The most prominent might be veteran Ivan Rodriguez, a Hall of Fame caliber catcher still playing elite defense at 39 who is the final year of his contract.
The Nationals, though, will not part with him for a pittance, and they are not actively seeking out a trade for him. General Manager Mike Rizzo made clear today, in a phone conversation with Boz, that it will not be easy to trade Rodriguez.
“To move him, it would have to be a good deal that helps us long term, not a quick fix trade for offense to get us to the time when Ryan Zimmerman is back,” Rizzo said. “Pudge would be a big piece for a contending team if they needed a catcher.”
Rodriguez, hitting .211/.259/.342, has seen his playing time steadily diminish as he has become the backup for rookie Wilson Ramos. Rodriguez has started five of the Nationals’ last 15 games.
Still, Rizzo sees value both in Rodriguez’s on-field contributions and off-field attitude. Rodriguez has gracefully accepted his station with the Nationals, eager to help Ramos and never complaining about his shrinking responsibility.
“We still need him here,” Rizzo said. “His value to us has only risen since he got here and especially this year. The way he’s worked with Wilson Ramos, he’s proved it’s not show or B.S. He’s embraced the city of Washington. He wants to stay here. So, somebody would have to come up with a piece that would help us in our long-term future.”
The possibility of trading Rodriguez became particularly feasible when the defending champion Giants lost Buster Posey to a broken leg last week.