A robust World Baseball Classic has heightened the market for veteran catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who on Monday morning appeared to be nearing agreement on a one-year contract with the Houston Astros, according to sources.
The 37-year-old Rodriguez is nine for 15 with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs for Puerto Rico, which is scheduled to play Venezuela in a second-round winner's bracket game Monday.
A soft free-agent market was particularly hard on Rodriguez, a 14-time All Star and 13-time Gold Glove winner who batted .219 after being traded from the Detroit Tigers to the New York Yankees at last summer's trading deadline.
Like a handful of others, mostly notably pitcher Pedro Martinez, Rodriguez entered the WBC expecting to prove he was capable of another productive season or two in the major leagues. He'd also hoped five weeks of spring training would lead more than one club to conclude it needed catching help.
While the Florida Marlins, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants had been reported as possible fits, the Astros appear to have the greatest interest and provide Rodriguez with the most potential for playing time.