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Thursday, September 29th, 2016

PUDGE NOT WORTH IT

20

The Tigers chose to keep Pudge Rodriguez, at the price of $13 million for 2008.

“This was a major decision and yet once the season ended, it became an easy one because we still think he’s one of the top catchers overall in the game,” Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said in an interview with The Associated Press.

I disagree. Pudge Rodriguez hit .281/.294/.420 last year. He scored only 50 runs in over 500 at-bats. He is 36 years old. He threw out only 31% of basestealers last season, a far cry from the days when Pudge was routinely throwing out 50-60%. Certainly the Tiger pitchers could have something to do with that number, but it was the lowest in Pudge’s career.

You can make the case that his veteran presence is good for the young Detroit staff. That he was the first face in the remaking of the Tiger franchise and he deserves this contract. True enough. But that’s not what Dombrowski and Leyland are saying.

“People just throw around other options like you can get anybody to catch, but there are not a lot of future Hall of Famers available,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland told the AP. “To me, this was a no-brainer and I’m tickled to death to have him back.

“It eases our mind to know who our catcher is going to be next year. That’s one less headache for us right now.”

Funny Leyland should mention getting anybody to catch. According to Baseball Prospectus, there were 21 players ahead of Pudge in Runs Above Replacement. Not in all of MLB. Just in MLB catchers. That is insane. Certainly Leyland doesn’t care about the money and I doubt he is a big respecter of sabermetrics, although I don’t know this for sure. And those 21 players aren’t necessarily available to play for the Tigers.

The Tigers can spend their dough however they wish. But Rodriguez is simply no longer worth that type of salary. His OPS has been in the 700′s for 3 years running now. That’s not likely to change at his age, especially when you draw 9 walks in over 500 at-bats.

  • dhaab

    Sometimes leadership in the clubhouse doesn’t have a price tag. Just ask the Cubs. ;)

  • PB

    The Tigers don’t need his huge offensive numbers like they did before. His .309 CS percentage is right in line with the rest of the league. For a 36 year old he still started 119 games ( a point of refernce- AJ Pierzynski is six years younger and started 116 games this season). He is also skilled at calling a game better than most catchers in the league. They may have overpaid, but for his team leadership and knowledge of the opposition it’s worth it. Now if he gets injured all bets are off. FIRE MILLEN MANG! LIONS ARE LIVING A LIE!

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I don’t know man. Tigers scored a ton of runs this year but got career and/or monster years from Mags, Curtis and Polanco. I’d also be surprised if the Shef gets as many ABs next year.

  • dhaab

    Good observations, PV. But you should realize that most Cubs fans don’t understand why you need a good leader playing catcher. It’s all about how many “points” you can score. :)

  • dhaab

    Sorry, I meant PB.

  • http://completesports.blogspot.com twins15

    Knowledge of the opposition is nice, but that’s still $13 million, and he is a below average hitter these days. He’s been below average at the plate for 3 years now. A .294 OBP is atrocious. And Ivan’s knowledge and veteran leadership obviously had a huge effect on the Tigers pitching staff… whose 4.57 ERA was 9th in the American League.

    Just an awful deal for this much money.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    He really led them in last year’s playoffs too–when he hit .167/.212/.271. Johnny Bench is a hall of fame catcher too, but I wouldn’t pay him $13 million for his past accomplishments or his “Knowledge” of the game. What does Pudge do? Tell Verlander, Bonderman and Zumaya to throw 99 instead of 97?

    The bottom line–and by that I mean fact–is that you can have anyone replace him for $10 million or less than he’s getting paid and you’d hardly notice. He might as well be Rod Barajas.

  • dhaab

    Man, you really are a stubborn in your opinions. Is everything about stats to you? This isn’t about money because teams can afford that kind of dough for certain players these days. Obviously Jim Leland, who happens to be one of the best managers in baseball, believes he’s worth the money. I think I’ll go with his opinion here over a random sports blogger.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    “Man, you really are a stubborn in your opinions”. Pot, meet kettle.

    When evaluating players, I find stats are indeed helpful to compare players and determine if their salaries are in line with their production. You’d rather use word of mouth? Go ahead. Dusty Baker thought Neifi Perez and Corey Patterson were good too. They weren’t. I think it’s funny that a variety of different stats were presented showing his suckiness and then you say I’m stubborn in my opinions.

    As I said in the post, the Tigers can spend their money any way they like. Hooray for them. We’re not dealing in relativism. Deals aren’t good or bad because of what someone thinks. They are such based on the return. If Pudge goes out next year and hits 300/375/500, I’ll be the first to say I’m wrong. But he won’t. The deal is brutal.

  • http://www.windycitysportsblog.com WindyCitySportsBlog.com

    Dhaab, why so harsh? I think the points/stats here are very solid statements and put the deal in perspective.

  • dhaab

    And that’s why you work in TV, not baseball.

    Listen, the argument that I have been making is that STATS AREN’T EVERYTHING IN SPORTS. You can continue using the stats as you want, but that’s why I said you’re stubborn. Many organizations evaluate players by stats as well as other intangibles. In this case, Pudge is like a coach on the field. He knows every hitters weakness and he knows exactly what pitches to call and he’s a great leader. Obviously, the Tigers think these things are just as important as statistics.

    And how dare you compare Dustah to Leyland. Good Lord.

  • http://zonersports.com Z

    “Listen, the argument that I have been making is that STATS AREN’T EVERYTHING IN SPORTS.” Um, no. There ya go mixing up your arguments again. You were arguing that it was a great deal and it was so because Jim Leyland said so.

    No one, myself included, ever believes stats are the whole story, and no one here was arguing that point at all.

    “Pudge is like a coach on the field. He knows every hitters weakness and he knows exactly what pitches to call and he’s a great leader.” And his tears cure cancer.

    And that’s why I work in TV? Exactly what do you think is happening to the old school scouts that refuse to delve into stats? They are becoming extinct. I couldn’t get a job in baseball because I don’t know ENOUGH about sabermetrics, not because I rely on it too much.

    They scored almost 900 runs this year. So why didn’t they make the playoffs if he knows all the things he knows? Why was their team ERA closer to 5 than 4?

  • http://completesports.blogspot.com twins15

    “In this case, Pudge is like a coach on the field. He knows every hitters weakness and he knows exactly what pitches to call and he’s a great leader.”

    He knows every hitters weakness and knows what pitches to call? Based on what. The Tigers middling ERA?

    No, not everything is about stats… I actually prefer your arguing style. No facts, just opinions. That way you can’t be wrong or disputed, right?

  • dhaab

    My “arguing style”?? LOL

    I’m not a Cubs/Bears fan, so I must be wrong about everything, right? It’s interesting to me because we’re discussing opinions and there is no right or wrong, but then, once again, what do I know. I’m just a stupid Cards fan.

    I never disputed his stats here. Go back and read, folks. I simply said that his intangibles are obviously important to the Tigers and Leyland. And that statement cannot be supported by facts, other than listening to Leyland and the Tigers players talk about playing with Pudge.

    Gotta say I’m enjoying this blog because I can easily predict the responses in support of Matt every time I disagree with him. It’s pretty comical.

    And one more thing, Matt. There are a whole lot of other reasons why you and I aren’t working in baseball besides the one you cited.

  • http://completesports.blogspot.com twins15

    I’m not a Cubs/Bears fan either… I actually strongly dislike both teams! And obviously his “intangibles” are important to the Tigers… otherwise why would they pay $13 million to a 36 year-old catcher that can’t hit anymore? But I think all I (and Zoner) is trying to say is that the intangibles such as supposedly knowing batter’s strengths and weakness is not worth $13 million/year, especially considering that those intangibles led to a middle of the road pitching ERA last year.

  • dhaab

    A catcher can’t make a pitcher better by himself. I’m sure you guys know that.

    And how does any of us know what the Tigers team ERA would have been without Pudge? Again, this is simply a case of a franchise who values a player like Rogriguez much more for his intangibles than his statistics.

    That’s all I’m saying. Obviously, the Tigers are doing something right because they have a very solid talent base and they’ve won a ton of games over the past two seasons.

  • PB

    Twins15, did you ever think that the Tigers “middling ERA” might have been caused by tired arms? They went deep last year, which IMHO takes a toll on a rotation the following year.

  • http://completesports.blogspot.com twins15

    Sure, it could be do any number of things. I don’t mean to imply that Pudge is the sole reason their pitching wasn’t that great this year. My only point is that with his hitting, if he’s really worth $13 million, well, his knowledge better be so vast that the Tigers will have great pitching numbers even with tired arms. But he is a bad hitter at this point in his career.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    “Gotta say I’m enjoying this blog because I can easily predict the responses in support of Matt every time I disagree with him.” You might want to see if there are other reasons for that.

    “But I think all I (and Zoner) is trying to say is that the intangibles such as supposedly knowing batter’s strengths and weakness is not worth $13 million/year, especially considering that those intangibles led to a middle of the road pitching ERA last year.”

    Exactly.

  • PB

    FIRE MILLEN MANG!

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