Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez specifically discussed three current members of the Texas Rangers organization on Monday.
Before taking part in a PwC-SMU Athletic Forum at the Hilton Anatole, the former Rangers catcher gave his thoughts on starting pitcher Yu Darvish, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and general manager and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.
Rodriguez, who the Rangers named special assistant to the general manager in February, said he didn’t get to watch Darvish pitch when he was in Arizona last week but said the two shared a 15-minute conversation.
“He’s a good kid,” Rodriguez said. “He asked me a lot of questions. It’s nice to see the player come sit down with you and ask a lot of questions. … I think he’s ready to go.”
The Rangers signed Pierzynski, 36, to a one-year, $7.5 million contract in December. The 15-year veteran had spent his last eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Last year he matched a career-high with 77 RBIs and set new career-bests with 27 homers and a .501 slugging percentage
The Rangers are hoping Pierzynski can help replace some of the power they lost with the departure of Josh Hamilton.
“He knows what he needs to do to win ballgames,” Rodriguez said. “He had a great year last year and that’s the year we expect him also to have here, offensively and defensively.
“My main thing I’d like to see him do is defensively, just keep calling great games.”
Rodriguez has interacted with Daniels and will continue to do so in his new role with the franchise. The 14-time All-Star called Daniels a “hard worker” who “loves what he’s doing.”
“I think the job he’s done for all the years he’s been here, he’s done great,” Rodriguez said. “I think he’s putting a winning team on the field. You cannot ask for anything more than that. I think he’s doing a good job for us.”