Tag:Wilson Ramos
Posted on: February 18, 2011 11:06 am

Nats' Riggleman: 'Pudge is our catcher'

Ivan Rodriguez Ivan Rodriguez will be more than a mascot or coach -- he's the Nationals starting catcher, and manager Jim Riggleman made that clear Friday morning.

"Pudge is our catcher," Riggleman said, according to CSNwashington.com . "We're going to go out there, and Pudge is going to continue to lead our ballclub as a leader behind the plate, a good hitter and just a good baseball player. He's got a lot of baseball left, so he's our catcher. And whoever wins that second spot is going to get incorporated into the lineup more and more as we go along."

Rodriguez, 39, hit .266/.294/.347 with four home runs and 49 RBI last season, but hit .296/.325/.389 in the first half, with just one homer. In the second half, he hit .231/.257/.297.

The Nationals have two good, young catching prospects in Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores. Flores had been the team's starting catcher in 2009 before undergoing shoulder surgery. Flores hasn't played since 2009, but has played in parts of three seasons and is still just 26. He was hitting .301/.371/.505 in 2009 before his injury.

Ramos, acquired last season by the Nationals in the Matt Capps trade, started 15 games for the Nationals last season and hit .269/.296/.404 with a home run.

The two will battle it out for the backup job and the front-runner as the catcher of the future.

"Whether it's Ramos and/or Flores, they're very talented guys," Riggleman said. "We're not going to let them die on the vine. They've got to get playing time. So whichever guy is there, if not both of them, they're going to get playing time and stay sharp. And as the year goes on, probably get a little more playing time."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: February 17, 2011 3:52 pm

I-Rod: I can still play, will help youngsters


Ivan Rodriguez isn't the MVP catcher that manned home plate for the Rangers way back when, but the future Hall of Famer feels he still has plenty left to give, as he tells the Washington Post.

Even as Rodriguez appears poised to serve as backup catcher to Wilson Ramos and receive less than 400 plate appearances for only the second time in his career (and that was in 2000, when he only played 91 games due to injury), Rodriguez refuses to tab spring training as a competition for the starting job as he enters the final season of his two-year deal signed with Washington.

"That's not my decision. That's [manager Jim Riggleman]'s. The only thing I can tell you is I come here, and my goal is just to win ballgames. My main goal is just to have a good team together, stay positive as a team and contribute my part. I'm feeling great. I still feel like I can play this game for plenty of time. I'm always ready to contribute."

Rodriguez is joined in camp by Ramos, who was acquired in the Matt Capps trade last season and grew up idolizing Rodriguez, along with Jesus Flores, finally healthy after missing most of the last two seasons after impressing in early 2009.

"I'm glad that we have three good catchers on our ball club," Rodriguez said. "You don't find that on a lot of teams, and that's a positive thing about this organization. The catchers that we have, we have myself, and we have two very talented catchers, very young with a lot of talent. It's always nice to have that in an organization."

It's rather refreshing to see someone once at the top of his game accepting that time robs everyone of their abilities. While Rodriguez certainly feels he can play at a high level, he's also not going to go about his business at the expense of others with a long future yet in the game.

"We get along well. They respect me a lot," Rodriguez. I respect them very much. Like I said, it's two guys, Flores and Ramos, we're going to work hard. We're going to work a lot. I'm going to talk to them in spring training. I'm that kind of person. I want other people to do great. I want [Flores] to stay healthy. That's the main thing. The more healthy this ball club is, the better it's going to be. We're going to work together. We're all going to try to do the things that we have to do."

Rodriguez hit .266/.294/.347 over 421 PA last season, which are poor numbers in line with his 2009 season as well, so this could be the new iteration of Rodriguez -- one who can't hit much but still impacts the game on leadership and defense. However, there may be more left in the tank, as Rodriguez was off to a strong start before suffering an injury to his back that caused him to hit just .237/.262/.308 after June.

His poor play at bat along with a desire to play past 2010 caused I-Rod to abandon his focus on cardio and pack on four pounds of muscle which he believes will help him hold up down the stretch as a 39-year-old.

"For me, I still have a lot in my game. I am feeling very good, physically, mentally."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 10:44 pm

Finding a match for Greinke difficult

Ian Desmond The Nationals want to deal for a pitcher and are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, a major-league source tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post .

The Nationals like both pitchers, but have the problem that they don't exactly have the pieces either the Royals or Rays are looking for in return, especially since the team isn't ready to get rid of shortstop Ian Desmond (pictured) or starter Jordan Zimmermann.

"[Desmond] is a guy they think is going to be their shortstop for the next 10 years. That's a really tough guy for them [to trade]. It almost negates getting that pitcher," a source told Kilgore. "Everyone else [aside from Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth] is fair game. They're not going to move Desmond. They'd move [Danny] Espinosa in a  heartbeat."

The Nats could get rid of Josh Willingham, but he's arbitration-eligible, Roger Bernadina and even relievers Drew Storen or Sean Burnett. The team could also move catcher Wilson Ramos.

"I don't see Washington having enough to do a deal with Kansas City," the source said. "I don't see that they have enough to offer unless they were willing to discuss a Desmond or a Jordan Zimmermann, and I don't see that happening. I can't see anyone else for Kansas City that gets them excited enough to do it."

The best fit for a Greinke deal, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes , could be Toronto, which has expressed interest in the right-hander. The Blue Jays have catching prospects Travis D'Arnaud, J.P. Arencibia and Carlos Perez, plus outfielders Anthony Gose and Travis Snider. The Jays have balked at giving the Royals Snider and Kyle Drabek, the pitcher they got for Roy Halladay.

Crasnick writes the Yankees and Rangers probably aren't a match for a Greinke trade.

The Brewers have also inquired, and the Reds were reportedly interested in Cliff Lee at the trade deadline last season. Cincinnati has the prospects, but not the payroll flexibility to be able to afford the $27 million left on Greinke's contract.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 11, 2010 2:41 pm

Nationals to platoon Ramos, Rodriguez

Ivan Rodriguez The Nationals plan to give Wilson Ramos every chance to see if the youngster can be the catcher of the future.

Ramos, acquired in the trade for closer Matt Capps and considered one of the better young catching prospects in the game, will alternate games with incumbent Ivan Rodriguez (pictured), reports MLB.com's William Ladson .

Rodriguez inked a two-year, $6 million deal in the offseason to serve as Washington's catcher. In 379 plate appearances, Pudge has delivered a .269/.292/.347 mark while Ramos is working on a .275/.310/.450 cumulative line between Minnesota and Washington over 42 PA. In the minors, Ramos was slumping for the Twins' Triple-A affiliate but recovered once he headed to Washington's Triple-A club to hit .316/.341/.494 in 82 plate appearances.

Rodriguez, at this point in his career, is best served as a backup catcher and will likely play in that capacity next season even as he chases 3,000 hits . He is currently 198 away from the benchmark, which is an imposing distance away to be when riding the pine. As a backup, he would need at least two more years to reach the milestone.

What the Ramos/Rodriguez 2011 combo means for Jesus Flores, once thought to be Washington's catcher of the future who has had the past two years derailed by injuries, is anyone's guess.

Washington could theoretically ask Flores to start down in Triple-A to make up for all the at-bats lost over the last two seasons and then go with Ramos/Flores in 2012, which could end up being one of the better catching duos in the league.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: July 5, 2010 11:46 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:51 am

Lee talks getting 'interesting' with Twins

Trade talks between the Mariners and Twins regarding Cliff Lee are getting "interesting" and "have possibilities," Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman reports .

There's no deal, but "one person familiar with the talks" are quoted by Heyman.

Heyman notes another source tells him the Mariners are interested in Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos and that Seattle wants a catcher that's ready to play right away. Ramos isn't going to play every day in Minnesota anytime soon.

The Twins are hardly alone in having interest in Lee. The Rays, Phillies, Yankees, Mets and Reds have all  reportedly been in contact with Seattle about Lee.

The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker reports nothing is going to happen tonight . AOL Fanhouse's Jeff Fletcher tweets he's heard that in addition to Ramos, the Twins have offered outfielder Aaron Hicks, the team's 2008 first-round pick.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 4, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 6:14 pm

Plenty of names available to Mariners for Lee

Cliff Lee Could Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners be trying to engineer a three-team trade?

Buster Olney of ESPN speculates on Cliff Lee's future -- as everyone will do up until he is traded -- and notes that Seattle wants a "difference-making hitter" in any Lee trade.

Olney suggests Justin Smoak from Texas, but it's hard to imagine the Rangers agreeing to that. Perhaps Chris Davis is a more viable alternative, but Texas would then have to upgrade other elements of the package.

Another player that may catch Seattle's eye is Yonder Alonso of the Reds. Alonso was drafted as a first baseman but since Joey Votto has that position locked up, has been playing left. The Mariners could return him to his natural position of first or even slot him as DH, and the Reds would certainly love Lee as they make a push for the NL Central crown.

Olney then turns his attention to Brett Lawrie of Milwaukee. When Jack Z worked for the Brewers, he selected Lawrie in the first round of the 2008 draft. Lawrie has since emerged as one of the best prospects in the game while manning second base. Even though the Brewers are out of the race and wouldn't be interested in a Lee-for-Lawrie swap, Olney speculates that Zduriencik could engineer a three-way trade, sending Lee to the Reds, a stable of pitching prospects from Cincinnati to Milwaukee (fulfilling the Brewers' need for pitching) and Lawrie to the Mariners.

There's nothing to support this trade, but it's an intriguing idea.

All that said, Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press hears that the Twins are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and are currently deciding whether Wilson Ramos should be made available to Seattle, who craves a young catcher. Interestingly enough, Waters says the Mariners love their 26-year-old catcher, Adam Moore, so Ramos may not be as available. Hard to imagine any team turning Ramos down who is head and shoulders above Moore but even if that's the case, Minnesota has more chips they can send out.

That starts with center fielder Ben Revere, who -- despite a clear lack of power -- has advanced well in the system since being selected in the 2007 draft. Joe Benson is another outfielder in the system that could be available, as well as major-league starting pitcher Nick Blackburn. It's doubtful Seattle would entertain Blackburn as the last thing they need is another back-of-the-rotation starter.

The Cliff Lee sweepstakes are heating up, and it's anyone's guess who plucks the prized left-hander with an obscene 89/6 K/BB ratio.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com