NEW YORK — The Detroit Tigers have traded veteran catcher Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for hard-throwing reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star in the option year of a $50 million deal he signed with the Tigers in Feb. 2004, will step into the hole in the Yankees’ lineup created by Jorge Posada’s shoulder injury.
Posada had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday. The rehab time is about six months.
Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said the team didn’t want to trade Rodriguez, but had bigger needs in the bullpen.
“First let me say that Pudge has done an outstanding job for us,” Dombrowski told reporters before Detroit played the Cleveland Indians. “I’m sure he was very surprised by this, but for him this is a good situation. He’s going to New York City, and they are in contention.”
The 36-year-old Rodriguez, who has won the Gold Glove award 13 times, was hitting .295 with five homers in 82 games this season.
“Pudge had a no-trade clause and he waived it today to go to New York,” Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, told The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon. “Pudge has always wanted to play in New York and Detroit felt it needed a relief pitcher, so both sides were able to get what they wanted to some degree.”
Rodriguez played for the Texas Rangers from 1991-2002, leaving as a free agent to sign with the Florida Marlins. He helped lead the Marlins to the World Series title in 2003, and then signed with the Tigers.
One of the most popular Rangers ever, Rodriguez was the American League Most Valuable Player in 1999.
Farnsworth, an inconsistent part of the Yankees’ bullpen for the past three seasons, was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 45 games for New York. He joins a bullpen badly in need of reinforcements, three days after veteran Todd Jones was removed from the closer role in Detroit.
Fernando Rodney, who has one career save, is the new closer. He came in Tuesday night in a non-save situation and gave up a run in the ninth.
Dombrowski said it would be up to manager Jim Leyland to decide where to slot Farnsworth in the bullpen, and said Brandon Inge would take over at catcher.
“We think Brandon Inge can do a fine job at catcher and at the same time we’ve done some repair to our bullpen,” Dombrowski said.
Rodriguez appeared in the Tigers' completely empty dugout hours before the game and waved over to Indians players, who were taking batting practice. He then disappeared back into the tunnel.