Ivan Rodriguez Is Headed Back to the Rangers for Matt Nevarez
Pudge, who spent the best 12 years of his career with the Rangers between 1991 and 2002, is only hitting .251/.280/.382 but he's expected to provide depth behind Taylor Teagarden, with starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the disabled list. Neither player has hit much better than Rodriguez this season.
In return, the Astros are getting the 22-year-old Nevarez. He's been excellent In relief with Singe-A Hickory this year, striking out 12.9 batters per nine innings with an ERA of 2.83. He's still a bit old for the level and he's progressed slowly through the Rangers' system, but he's a nice return for a veteran catcher who simply wasn't doing much to help the Astros down the road in what's become a lost season for them.
For the Rangers, this might not be more than a lateral move. Teagarden's .637 OPS is terrible and so is Salty's .662 (especially in Arlington), but Pudge hit only .219/.257/.323 after a trade to the Yankees last season. He's at .662 this year, but a move to the American League likely won't help his stats. He also hasn't been with the Rangers in almost seven years, so he's not at all familiar with any of their young pitching staff. He might help them out a bit down the stretch in the wild-card race, but isn't likely to provide a significant boost.
Of course, Nevarez is a project (he missed all of 2007 with an arm injury) and so they're really not giving up much to get Pudge back into the organization. He's a nice addition for the Astros, but in the end Pudge is a cheap potential upgrade at this time of season, and in the tight AL wild-card race, every little bit will help.