Ivan Rodriguez, the 1999 American League MVP and one of the best defensive catchers in baseball history, will announce his retirement Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Sources confirmed Rodriguez's plan, which was hatched after no decent playing opportunities arose in the off-season. Four teams showed interest in Rodriguez, who had hoped to get a minor-league deal to Rangers camp with an invitation to big-league camp.
Rodriguez wants to retire in Texas, where he started a 21-year career in 1991. He made 10 of his 14 All-Star appearances won 10 of his 13 Gold Gloves while with the Rangers from 1991 to 2002. The Rangers traded for him late in the 2009 season after a season-ending injury to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Pudge, of course, didn't have much left in the tank over these last few years, and hadn't been an above-average major league catcher since 2006, when he batted .300/.332/.437 in 136 games for the Tigers and meaningfully contributed to their run to the American League pennant. In August 2009, Texas acquired Pudge in a waiver-period deal that was heavy on nostalgia, but light in terms of production gains, as he hit only .245/.279/.388 in 24 games down the stretch, and wasn't brought back the following year.
Nevertheless, though, Pudge is widely viewed as the best player in the history of the franchise (and, for that matter, as one of the 2-3 best catchers in the history of baseball), and this figures to be the most hotly anticipated retirement ceremony in Rangers history.