Ivan Rodriguez is the Texas Rangers. He’s the most memorable figure in Rangers history and he’s still beloved by all Texas fans everywhere. Before the Rusty Greers, Michael Youngs and Josh Hamiltons there was Pudge, who was the primary star for the Rangers throughout the 1990s. He even caught for Nolan Ryan from 1991-93 as one Texas legend passed on the torch to the next. So it’s only natal that Rodriguez returns to the Rangers now that his playing days are over.
On Thursday, Texas announced that Rodriguez will be joining the team as a part-time instructor, special assistant to the general manager and ambassador. To some, that might seem like a colorful way of saying he’s hanging out with the franchise, but he’ll do just as much for Texas (if not more) now than he did when he was playing.
The Rangers have struggled to find a dynamite catcher since Rodriguez left and haven’t come close to nailing one down, especially now that Mike Napoli has moved on. Rodriguez can certainly provide some quality coaching to Rangers catchers AJ Pierzynski and Geovany Soto. The former is looking to finish his career with a quality team while the latter is trying to make a home out of his new team after being traded from the Chicago Cubs during the 2012 MLB season.
Jon Daniels is a good general manager, but having the insight and advice from a former player is always a good thing, especially when it’s a future Hall of Famer who is arguably the most famous player in Rangers history. As mentioned, Texas is still in search of a franchise catcher and Rodriguez can certainly help Daniels to find one.
Naturally, Pudge is ideal to represent the team at various functions, so he’s absolutely perfect in an ambassador role, which is something that all players who played a vital part in their team’s history should have. Everyone in Texas always says they wish Rodriguez was a Ranger for life and now it appears he might be just that.