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Motivations of The Astros and Pudge Rodriguez

Both sides came into contract negotiations with a need. The Astros obviously didn't feel secure in handing the catching duties over a platoon of Humberto Quintero and Lou Palmisano. It could have been an adventure to say the least with two below replacement level players handling our less than great pitching staff. Combine that with an offense that may have trouble scoring runs, and we can see why Drayton McLane and Ed Wade felt improvement was needed.

On the other side of the table, Pudge Rodriguez (a Scott Boras client), wanted to parlay a great WBC into a new contract for 2009. He still feels like he can contribute positively to a major league team, and has a few milestones in his sights. One that seems very much in reach is the career games caught record- he needs only catch 54 more games to pass Bob Boone for first all time. As Astros fans, we know that there is something to be said for an aging player chasing a record. Craig Biggio's quest for 3000 hits is a completely different animal to Astros fans than Pudge's quest for the catching record, but it's important to Rodriguez.

With 2605 career hits, Pudge may be thinking he can make a 3000 hit quest of his own. This is extremely unlikely, but who knows what he may be thinking. Houston is probably the best chance he has to play almost every day. If he can somehow manage to collect 130-140 hits this season, he would at least give himself a chance to reach 3000. Brad Ausmus has shown that 39, going on 40 year old catchers can still get jobs in MLB. With that in mind, maybe Rodriguez wouldn't be crazy if he thought 3000 hits is his destiny.