To a Minor League contract. We should have already done this in time for spring training, but, oh well. I noticed that he's still floating out there and i'm not sure why anyone hasn't tried to fish him out yet. The Rays were interested, but now they backed off because i'm sure they didn't want to use 35 catchers in the span of 3 years. 34 is a nice even number instead. Why the Yankees should sign Ivan Pudgy Rodriguez follows.
Yes, I realize Mr. I-Rod is old as dirt and pretty much done offensively, in fact he's posted a negative oWAR ever since he came to New York in the Lost Year of 2008. Perhaps he's cursed. However, unlike his offense, his defense is still there. It's obviously not as strong as it once was, but someone as gifted as Rodriguez should still be able to hold onto his defensive skills for a little while longer (1.6 dWAR since coming to NY). His defense is why he is valuable and the Yankees should have made sure he was in camp to start the spring.
Item: On B-Ref, Ivan Rodriguez is #11 in dWAR (16.9) out of all of baseball history. He was that good. He was also the highest rated catcher on the list, with The Mighty Lave Cross (11.1), Jim Sundberg (10.4) and Mr. Gary Carter himself (10) being the closest. That's how good he has been.
Now then. With no place left to go, the 40 years young Ivan Rodriguez should be reeled into Spring Training on a minor league deal as soon as possible. There is definitely some concern over Cervelli's ability to avoid a banging his head and if he goes down that would leave us with Austin Romine (who I think still needs regular at bats in AAA) or Gustavo Molina. I'd rather have someone who has proved to be an effective catcher at 40 over anything Fauxlina has ever done ever. During the spring what better way to teach our slew of catching prospects how to not suck behind the plate than by learning directly from the best? Austin Romine (!), Gary Sanchez, JR Murphy (?), Kyle Higashioka, Jose Gil,
Gustavo Molina, Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin, Tony Pena, Joe Girardi and Ivan Rodriguez could make this a true Catching Mecca.
With all the talk of having every non-CC pitcher in the Yankee organization follow Mariano Rivera as if just by breathing the same air he breathes (he doesn't breathe) they will magically understand how to throw the mythical Mariano Rivera Cutter® regardless of their actual repertoire and personal strengths. While Veteran Presents do have a time and place, there is a difference between teaching someone how to do something better and expecting them to learn something new through osmosis (I know it can happen, but it's not something to count on). Dellin Betances picking up the cutter is not going to save his career, Dellin Betances not pitching like a slingshot is going to save his career. End of ramble. Ivan Rodriguez can teach the Catching Crew how to be better catchers, how to work hard, how to set yourself, how to throw and whatever other Gameshark codes he can offer.
Rodriguez may never see the majors again, but that doesn't matter. If camp breaks and Cervelli is still standing, Ivan should go to AAA to work with Romine to improve his catching. If Cervelli or Martin goes down then we have a specially tutored young prospect, or a glove guru to fill in for a time (anything is better than that Fake Molina). With any luck the Yankees will be able to convince Rodriguez to take a coaching job in the minors so he could train Mr. Sanchez to not be vomit-inducing behind the plate.
Yeah, this is a pipe dream, but I will continue to dream. Some of this is definitely possible if the Yankees get smart and open up their purse for a few more Shekels. If Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez could get Major League deals, I don't think a minor league deal for Rodriguez is that Farfetch'd. Cashman will need to act quickly though, because Spring Training is already here and there is only so much time left before all our Lil' Catchers go their separate ways for the coming season.