Thursday, July 31, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Mutterings on a holiday weekend

Tigers trade catcher Ivan Rodriguez to Yankees

Send a link to a friend

[July 31, 2008]  NEW YORK (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers sent veteran catcher Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for hard-throwing reliever Kyle Farnsworth on Wednesday, a trade that filled glaring holes for both contenders.

Auto RepairRodriguez, a 14-time All-Star in the option year of a $50 million deal he signed with the Tigers in February 2004, will step into the hole in the Yankees' lineup created by Jorge Posada's shoulder injury. Posada had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday and is out for the season.

"You have to give up to get," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "You have to do the balancing act."

Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said the team didn't want to trade Rodriguez, but had bigger needs in the bullpen. The two teams began discussing the deal early Wednesday and had it wrapped up about six hours later, just as the Yankees were finishing off a 13-3 win over the Orioles.


"It's going to be very exciting. They are in the race and I'm ready to do my job," Rodriguez said.

The Yankees expect Rodriguez to join the team on Thursday, when they start a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.

"First let me say that Pudge has done an outstanding job for us," Dombrowski told reporters before Detroit played the Cleveland Indians. "I'm sure he was very surprised by this, but for him this is a good situation. He's going to New York City, and they are in contention."

The 36-year-old Rodriguez, who has won the Gold Glove award 13 times, was hitting .295 with five homers in 82 games this season.

"Pudge had a no-trade clause and he waived it today to go to New York," Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, told The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon. "Pudge has always wanted to play in New York and Detroit felt it needed a relief pitcher, so both sides were able to get what they wanted to some degree."


The Yankees made their second deal in the week leading up to Thursday's trade deadline. On Friday, the Yankees acquired outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor leaguers.

Farnsworth, an inconsistent part of the Yankees' bullpen for the past three seasons, was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 45 games for New York. He joins a bullpen badly in need of reinforcements, three days after veteran Todd Jones was removed from the closer role in Detroit.

"It's always hard, no matter what," Farnsworth said in the Yankees' clubhouse. "Just one of those things you have to deal with."

Farnsworth pitched for the Tigers for the first four months of 2005, compiling a 2.32 ERA in 46 games before he was traded to the Braves at the trading deadline.


Fernando Rodney, who has one career save, is the new closer for the Tigers. He came in Tuesday night in a non-save situation and gave up a run in the ninth.

Dombrowski said it would be up to manager Jim Leyland to decide where to slot Farnsworth in the bullpen, and said Brandon Inge would take over at catcher.

"We think Brandon Inge can do a fine job at catcher and at the same time we've done some repair to our bullpen," Dombrowski said.

Inge said he was excited to be getting a chance to start behind the plate on an everyday basis for the first time since 2003, when he started 98 times at catcher. Since then, he's gotten most of his starts at third base.

[to top of second column]


"I wanna play every day not matter what position, so I'm pumped," he said. "Did I learn a lot from Pudge? He's a future Hall of Famer, so watching him makes everybody better. I'm not Pudge, I'll just go out and do what I can."

Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield said the trade made sense to both sides.

"This is a surprise to people if they don't know the situations of the players," he said. "Both teams get better by this, and that's what a trade is supposed to be all about."

Rodriguez appeared in the Tigers completely empty dugout hours before the game and waved over to Indians players, who were taking batting practice. He then disappeared back into the tunnel.

"You talk about a Hall of Fame catcher coming in here," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's been hot, so I'm looking forward to him being here."


Rodriguez will be remembered in Detroit for being the star who sparked the franchise's turnaround when nobody wanted to be a Tiger -- at any price.

He signed a $40 million, four-year deal with them after they lost an AL-record 119 games in 2003. He had just helped Florida win the World Series, earning the MVP award in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs.

In 2006, Rodriguez and the Tigers reached the World Series.

The player known as Pudge was an All-Star in each of his first four seasons with the Tigers, earning a spot in baseball's midsummer classic last year for the 14th time. He also won three more Gold Gloves -- giving him a record 13 as a catcher.


Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Rodriguez are the only three players in baseball history with at least 12 Gold Gloves and a career .300 average or better.

Rodriguez has caught 2,142 games, trailing only Carlton Fisk (2,226) and Bob Boone (2,225) in terms of longevity behind the plate. He has said he wants to play next season and beyond.

[Associated Press; By DAVE SKRETTA]

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit and AP Freelance Writer Chuck Murr in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor