I was going through this off season’s crop of free agents, one of them stood out to me as being an interesting story. Ivan Rodriguez is a free agent yet again. It seems like this is an annual event for him. However this year is different, he is now 38 years old, and although statistically speaking he had a good year, he was traded mid season (2nd time in 2 years) and was essentially a back up catcher for the Rangers.
So at 38 he finds himself without a team again. The Rangers have plenty of catchers on their roster and just don’t need Rodriguez. So where does he go from here? There aren’t many teams out there looking for a starting catcher and even if they were Ivan isn’t that guy anymore. The last two years he started 108 games and 105 games. You have to wonder, at his age whether his body can endure another full season at catcher.
I think he is going to sign on somewhere, but I can’t imagine that he is going to finish the season. Somewhere along the line this upcoming season he will probably retire. He has had himself an amazing career. One that dates back to 1991, and has appeared in 15 All Star games, has 13 Gold Gloves (most by any catcher), and 7 Silver Sluggers (2nd most by any catcher). To say he has had a Hall of Fame career is an understatement. He’s 58th all-time in hits and 23rd all-time in doubles. As far as catchers go, he was the best complete catcher to ever play the game (sorry Mike Piazza).
As far as his cards go, his rookie cards , can be had for no more than $1. Game used and autographs are a little more expensive, but still go for about $2 for game used and as low as $9 for autographed cards (see below for a sample). It really is a shame his cards are not worth more, but he spent his better years in the junk wax era. If he decides to hang up his cleats at the end of the year, I for one will be very sad, as I grew up rooting for him. Every legend needs to know when it’s time to step away and I think now is Ivan’s time.