Tigers might want to think twice about exercising Ivan Rodriguez’s $13M option for next season. Rodriguez turns 36 on November 30th and since the all-star break his on-base percentage is .231; 5th lowest in the American League. Tigers manager Jim Leyland is starting to give Pudge some more time off and if the Tigers do bring back Rodriguez they’re going to need a stronger backup for next season.
The folks at MLB Trade Rumors are also wavering on Pudge’s options for next year:
At the time I said his defense and power would justify the $10MM difference between his $13MM option and $3MM buyout. Currently, Pudge is hitting for his usual decent average but has drawn just five walks in 379 plate appearances. Rosenthal believes the Tigers might opt for the buyout, especially if Rodriguez tails off as the season wears on. Maybe so, but at effectively one year, $10MM, they might still go for it.
I’ve already covered the Tigers penchant for wild pitches this year and Pudge is a key part of the problem. He has been charged with 6 PB as well. His walks have declined pretty dramatically as well. His average and power are around where they are year after year. He has been taking more days off from regular aches and pains than normal.
None of this really matters though since one piece Ken left out of the equation is that Detroit does not have another catcher waiting in the wings to take the job. They also do not appear to be looking for one, yet. Vance Wilson, while an adequate backup, is not an everyday player. Neither is Mike Rabelo though he certainly can take over for Vance after next year.
There is no option for Detroit but to keep Pudge and I fully believe that is exactly what they will do. Well, I hope so.