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Ian Casselberry on Pudge

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Bless You Boys is probably my favorite of our SBN sister-sites, primarily because Ian Casselberry is able to do all the cool, wacky graphic stuff that I can't, plus he's a fan of comics and old-school cartoons.  He's also a talented writer who keeps careful track of his team.

 

So with Pudge in the Yankee lineup, I emailed him to get his thoughts on our new catcher.

Here's what he had to offer:

Pudge Rodriguez went from indispensable, with the Tigers feeling they had no other choice but to pick up his $13 million option because the off-season market for catchers was so poor, to an expendable trade chip.  Shotgun wedding to amicable divorce in nine months.

 

Pudge started off this season much like he did last year, hitting for a low average and drawing very few walks.  However, he was noticeably better defensively, letting fewer balls get by him and throwing out basestealers as he used to.  Around early June, Pudge began to drive the ball more, showed more patience at the plate, and perhaps most notably, displayed more power than he had the past couple of seasons.  His average climbed from .250/.290/.357 on June 10 to .295/.338/.417 when he was traded.   

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that Pudge's numbers began to improve once Jim Leyland began giving him more time off and alternating him with Brandon Inge at catcher.  The pitching staff also didn't suffer much in terms of game calling with Inge behind the plate, which probably confirmed that Rodriguez's skills in that area were often overhyped.  Obviously, Pudge disagrees because all accounts say that he was unhappy with his playing time.  But it'll be interesting to see if he wears down as he catches more innings with the Yankees. 

Thanks to Ian for the insight.  Go check out his site (but behave, the Old English D is a quality logo).