The rumor: the Giants have contacted the Nationals about Ivan Rodriguez
In list format, here’s why they shouldn’t do that.
1. He’s terrible at hitting
Over the past three years, in 896 at-bats, Pudge has hit .253/.284/.364, or if you like OPS+, that’s a score of 73. Even if you consider that the bar on offense is lower for catchers – OPS for catchers in the NL has been around .710 over the past three seasons – Pudge still comes up short on offense with a .648 OPS over that timeframe. A quick look at Pudge’s graph page on FanGraphs, and you get some additional frightening information: power down, strikeouts up, wOBA down.
2. Is he really an upgrade over Whiteside?
Yes, that Eli Whiteside; the guy that’s never, ever, been able to hit. Whiteside’s futility with the bat is well documented. And yet, he’s probably not much worse than Pudge is these days. I tweeted that over the past three seasons – in admittedly much less PT – Whiteside has hit just as well (or just as poor) as Rodriguez. The ZiPS updated projection for Rodriguez has him at a .274 wOBA for the year. The ZiPS updated projection for Whiteside is .281. Ouch.
Defense is another question. I think we all know that catcher defense is a fickle thing to try and quantify. There’s a chance that Rodriguez is probably better on defense than Whiteside. I’d be willing to give him +5 runs on defense vs. Whiteside’s +2.5 runs. The difference, in my opinion, probably isn’t worth the cash or prospects. If the 39-year-old’s (!) defense has degraded to average, or even below, he really doesn’t make sense over Whiteside.
3. The Giants should try for better
Easier said than done, I know. But acquiring Rodriguez is depressing. The Giants have lost a key part of their offense (and defense) and replacing it with an old, and ineffective player is just really, really depressing. The team will be unable to replace Posey, that much is true, however, the Giants might as well use some combination of Whiteside-Stewart rather than Rodriguez. If the team is determined to find someone other than Whiteside-Stewart, you have to make it an upgrade over, you know, Whiteside-Stewart.