While the 2012 campaign has been mostly painful for the Padres, there have been a few bright spots for fans to hang their hats on. Yasmani Grandal has been one of those bright spots, and Padre fans have been legitimately excited about the performance of the young catcher. However, the injury bug took a bite of Grandal, and the Padres were faced with a bit of a conundrum — backup John Baker and the currently injured Nick Hundley are the only catchers on the 40-man roster. The Padres needed another catcher while Hundley and Grandal are on the mend, so they reached deep into the minors, and pulled out a 26-year-old catcher from High-A Lake Elsinore. The name is Eddy Rodriguez.
In my knowledge of the Padres system, Rodriguez is a name I have stumbled upon a few times, but his statistics did not make him stand out. Rodriguez had a triple slash line of .223/.269/.381, in a very hitter-friendly league. Rodriguez isn’t really considered a prospect, as most 26-year-old players are not in Single-A.
Rodriguez was drafted in the 20th round by the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. He went to the University of Miami — the same college that Grandal and Padres catching prospect Jason Hagerty attended. Rodriguez has bounced around quite a bit since being drafted. He played in the Reds system for parts of three seasons, and also played two years of Independent League baseball — where baseball careers go to die.
Rodriguez signed with the Padres prior to the 2011 season, and played for Lake Elsinore last season, as well as filling in at Tucson and San Antonio. Rodriguez has spent the whole year playing for the Storm, so the promotion comes as a huge surprise.
The Padres rational is this: Hundley is not quite game-ready to return to San Diego. Brad Davis, the other catcher for Triple-A Tucson is hitting .147. The Padres do not want to put Jason Hagerty on the 40-man roster, and potentially expose him to other clubs if they remove him from the roster. The Padres believe they can keep Rodriguez after removing him the roster. Essentially, Rodriguez is a stopgap, until Hundley can return to San Diego.
I am sure Rodriguez does not mind. Realistically, this could be his only shot at playing Major League Baseball. He is a non-prospect, and is a .239 career minor in the minors. My hopes are that the Padres let him start at least one game while he is in San Diego. Let the minor-league lifer have his moment in the sun. After all, they make movies about this kind of stuff. Go Eddy!