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David Brown

Pudge goes home: Rangers need catcher, deal for Ivan Rodriguez

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As the Rangers push for a return to the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, they are reaching back to their glory days in order to make it happen.

Pudge-Rod is heading back to Arlington.

T.R. Sullivan first reported on his Tejas blog that the Rangers are sending two mid-level prospects to the Astros for Ivan Rodriguez(notes), the backbone and backstop of the Rangers' three division-winners of the late 1990s.

T.R. writes:

Rodriguez is coming as the backup catcher. He has been told that and he understands that Taylor Teagarden(notes) would be the Rangers starter.

Sure, but for how long? While he's the established guy in town since Jarrod Saltalamacchia(notes) went down with an ominous injury, Teagarden is batting .198 and has a splinter of Rodriguez's experience.

UPDATE: MLB's Brian McTaggart says the Astros will receive a pair of 22-year-olds: Double-A infielder Jose Vallejo and Class-A right-hander Matt Nevarez.

Vallejo started the season at Triple-A, where he struggled, and Nevarez is a closer in the Sally League. The Astros were hanging around first place for a while but haven't kept pace with the Cardinals, hence I-Rod's dumping.

Rodriguez began his major league career with Texas in 1991 as a 19-year-old wunderkind, combining throwing arm, bat and speed at his position like none before him. He won the AL MVP in 1999 and left for the Marlins as a free agent after the 2002 season.

Rodriguez is batting .251 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 93 games this season. He's thrown out 34 percent of baserunners — granted, not as good as Teagarden's 43 percent.

And, Rodriguez is 37 years old and declining, yet I'd be shocked and awed if he doesn't get a majority of playing time down the stretch as the Rangers try to take the wild card.

He's not MVP-caliber anymore but the Rangers didn't make this move so Pudge could greet fans at the door and talk about the good old days.

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