What a Potential Pudge Rodriguez Trade Could Look Like?

Steve O Speak

With Buster Posey out for the season, the rumors are ramping up about a potential Pudge Rodriguez trade to the Giants. While Pudge has stated he wants to stay with the Nationals, it isn’t likely in the cards. Despite being a valuable veteran for the Nationals, Pudge can be no better than a once or twice a week catcher, and given his free agency status after this year he is more valuable as a trade chip.

Rodriguez might not be the best catching option on the market, but he is probably the most cost effective (and likely to be dealt right now). Pudge can’t replace Posey’s offense, but he will be at least an upgrade over Eli Whiteside, who has been a major hole in the Giants lineup. Rodriguez will give the Giants a major upgrade on defense, as he is still quite good at nailing would be base stealers. In addition to slowing down the running game, his overall defense is still among the best in the game. He also will add a veteran presence to the Giants lineup and should help fill Posey’s void both on and off the field.

What should the Nationals get in return:

Despite what Nationals fans and brass might want, they aren’t going to get a massive return. Instead of trying to target a higher prospect or two, I’d scour the Giants system for some young guys who are breakout candidates. Here’s a deal that I think could be agreeable to both teams:

RHP Jason Stoffel:

Stoffel was so good in college that he beat out both Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth for the Arizona closer job. The Giants made him their 4th round pick in 2009 and he has climbed his way up to AA. Stoffel hasn’t shown enough consistency to really project him as a closer/setup man at the next level, but he still has some potential. When he is on he has two quality pitches that can just devastate hitters. While right now he appears destined for middle relief, he has a chance to redevelop into a closer type. He’s just 22 so for the Nationals they have plenty of time to be patient and let him develop. Even if he is just a solid middle reliever going forward, he will offer a cheaper option, as guys like Sean Burnett, Doug Slaten, Todd Coffey become free agents and leave.

Matt Graham:

Graham was the Giants 6th round pick in 2009, but was generally thought of as more of a 2nd or 3rd round talent. Higher bonus demands and some inconsistency allowed him to drop (though the Giants did pay high 3rd round money), and be a great value pick in round 6. So far the Giants haven’t seen any return on that investment as he struggled in both levels of rookie ball last season and couldn’t handle Low-A in a relief role this year. Graham has the size, projection, and pure stuff to succeed, but it simply hasn’t come together yet. While there is some obvious concern if he will ever make it, it is important to remember that Graham would have just completed his sophomore season in college had he gone that route, and would have for the most part faced lesser competition. Graham would be a nice upside pickup for the Nationals, and a new set of coaches could be what he needs.

Stephen Harrold:

The Giants drafted Harrold in the 12th round last season, and thus far he’s been a solid find. Harrold is strictly a reliever, but has found success this season in Low-A with an ERA under 2.00, and 7 saves. Despite his numbers Harrold isn’t considered a higher prospect, because he hasn’t consistently shown that elite out pitch that most closers have. He has some potential though and would be a nice pickup for the Nationals as he has the ability to move quickly and be in the majors 2 or 3 years from now.


It’s a solid return overall for Rodriguez as the Nationals pick up 3 interesting arms. Both Stoffel and Harrold should at least be middle relievers at the next level and could be up with the team by 2013. They both have the potential to be even better and really make this into a win for Washington. Graham might have long odds facing him, but there is enough potential to make him an interesting pickup.

While this is a quantity over quality approach, I think it is more likely to occur since the Giants would probably prefer to hang on to their mid-tier prospects. The move is also good for Washington as it does bring 3 interesting young arms to their system, and it frees up a 40 man roster spot, that could be beneficial in a more higher profile deal.


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