San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey was taken out in collision at home with Florida Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins in last night’s extra innings loss. Today it was revealed that Posey has suffered a fractured ankle and several severely sprained ligaments.
The Giants, 27-22, are currently in first place in the National League West, but are struggling offensively. Posey was the clubs’ second best hitter (.284/.368/.389) and a rock behind the plate. With him potentially out the entirety of the season, the club is likely going to look for veteran catching help if they want to compete for another World Series trophy. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Giants have already inquired about Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez would seem to be a perfect fit for San Francisco. In his limited opportunity with the Nationals this season he has proven that defensively he is still one of the best in baseball, and at the plate he would be close to replacement level in the National League.
The Giants are looking to stay in contention and Rodriguez has helped lead two teams to the World Series in the past 10 seasons. Conversely, Rodriguez, while he has been very gracious and helpful in his current position, would likely be very open to going somewhere that he could play everyday.
The shoe fits, but how much will Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo want? And how much will Giants’ general manager Brian Sabean be willing to give up?
As we have seen with other tradable properties in the past, Rizzo has been reluctant to give up a player unless he truly felt he was getting something of value in return. With Adam Dunn, most people in baseball assumed the Nationals would have to trade him because it was pretty well established the team would not extend him to a long-term contract. Rizzo didn’t find the offer he wanted however, and used Dunn to his full value for the remainder of the 2010 season.
Given that, I don’t see Rizzo trading Rodriguez simply to take the salary cut. There is value in his veteran presence and plus glove work, and there is a demand for competent catchers on competitive teams. The Giants are such a team and Rizzo knows it.
The Nationals are in need of an everyday outfielder, preferably with the potential to leadoff. While Roger Bernadina has been solid, I don’t think the Nats are sold yet that he will be part of their future, and I think few actually believe he can be a true leadoff hitter. The Giants have a few good young outfielders in Thomas Neal and Francisco Peguero who could potentially be good pick-ups for Washington.
Peguero, 22, has great speed and hit .329 last year in the Cal league while stealing 40 bases. He’s still a far way from the majors but could potentially be an MLB leadoff hitter by the time he is 25.
Neal, 23, is batting .333/.378/.500 through 13 games in Triple-A and could be an everyday major leaguer by next season. He did not hit many home runs last season in Double-A (12) but he did hit 40 doubles, showing good gap power.
Other potential options are fireball reliever Heath Hembree (0.55 ERA 29 K in 18 IP in A+ San Jose), 2010 second round pick Jarrett Parker (.258/.374/.417 with 4 HR and 6 SB in 39 G A+ San Jose), and Michael Main (0.87 ERA 8 K in 10 IP in A+ San Jose).
Those are just a few options. The Giant’s have a great farm system, but it’s unclear what they’ll be willing to give up to compete again this season. If they are willing to give up a “B” or “C” level prospect, the Nats will likely jump at it. Other than that, I just don’t see them making the move to ship Pudge to simply get him off the roster.