Trading players is something that has been a part of baseball since the early days of the game. If a team's General Manager feels that his team is lacking in one aspect (be it pitching, hitting, or defense), he will search far and wide for a player who could fill the void and help produce a winning team. Trades don't always turn out equally, with one team ending up with the better end of a trade than the other team. 1997 comes to mind, when the Oakland A's traded Mark McGuire to St. Louis for 3 pitchers that no one ever heard of. Despite McGuire's steroid use, that trade ended up benefiting the Cardinals, who have performed well in recent years and even have McGuire as their hitting coach. Another infamous trade happened in 1991, where the Orioles sent Curt Schilling (before he got blood on his socks), Pete Harnisch, and Steve Finley to the Astros for Glenn Davis. And the 1990 trade where the Red Sox sent Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen? Not a good trade for the Sox! And of course, the most infamous trade of them all happened back in 1920, when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for some cash. We all know how that one turned out!
Those of us who follow specific players are inevitably affected by trades. You sometimes feel betrayed, like how could that player be treated like a piece of livestock? How can he just uproot his whole family and get used to playing in a whole new environment? How come no one asked me for my opinion on that trade before they went through with it? I bring up the subject of trades because there is a rumor floating around the Majors that the Nationals are looking to trade Iván Rodriguez. Yes, you heard right; my Pudge just may be finishing his career with another team that is not my hometown Nats! When Pudge signed with the Nationals in 2009, he signed a two-year contract. Everyone assumed that he would contribute to the team's offense and defense while mentoring young catchers. I also thought he would be groomed to become a future manager or coach, because like I've said before, catchers make the best coaches. Iván started with the Nationals with the personal goal of reaching 3000 hits, a feat that only one other Puerto Rican player has ever accomplished (shame on you if you don't know who that is!). But things haven't been going according to plan, with Iván sustaining a few injuries last year and having a terrible offensive season this year. Plus their other catcher, Wilson Ramos, is doing a fantastic job both offensively and behind the plate, and he looks to be holding his own. The "problem" with Iván is that despite being 39 years old, he can still throw out runners trying to steal bases. He can still squat for nine innings (he caught 13 innings last night), and he knows the pitchers and players better than anyone else in the game. While most catchers are relegated to other positions so they can extend their careers (Jorge Posada comes to mind), Iván can still catch and he can still do it well. So the Nationals are in a bit of a conundrum - what do we do with this old guy who grounds into so many double plays? We know he can still catch, but if Ramos is doing the job, why should we keep Iván around? Well, there's a team out west who just lost their star catcher for the rest of the season, and they may just be interested in a natural leader like Iván (that team is the San Francisco Giants, if you hadn't figured it out). And with good catchers being such a rare commodity, other teams might be interested in old Pudge as well. So we'll just have to see how this whole thing plays out - I hope the fact that Iván went 0 for 6 in yesterday's game makes other teams think twice about trading for him! Let Pudge finish out his year with the Nationals, so I can keep wearing my #7 jersey and continue to embarrass my husband during batting practice when I scream like a crazy woman while waving my large Puerto Rican flag. I have acquired a reputation with Iván and Alex Cora (the other Puerto Rican player in the Nationals); don't make me retire my flag just yet!