Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Catcher Pudge Rodriguez's Name Comes Up Again In San Francisco Chatter.

"Aaaaah I hate rumors!!" - Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Washington Nationals celebrates while rounding the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning during the first game of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on April 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Brewers 8-4. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jesus Flores, one-time next big thing behind the plate in D.C. started Sunday afternoon and went 1 for 4 with a run scored, 2 K's, a throwing error and four stolen bases against (some/all on the pitchers) with Wilson Ramos resting in a day game after a night game. Flores is on the big league roster because Pudge Rodriguez is currently on the DL with an oblique injury. Since the start of the season, the Nats' future Hall of Fame catcher (Rodriguez not Ramos;) has been the subject of trade rumors, most of which, from the Nationals' point of view at least, hinged on whether or not Flores, now 26, could recover from a series of injuries and surgeries to return to the major leagues and become the type of catcher he's shown in flashes he can be in the small sample size he's had with Washington in the past... 

So far this season with Triple-A Syracuse, Flores has yet to return to hitting like he did during his first few years in the nation's capital, putting up a .234/.252/.378 slash with 15 doubles and 5 HR's in 56 games and 218 plate appearances, and he hasn't had enough time in D.C. (just 6 AB's) to show if the challenge of returning to the majors full-time to back up Ramos would push him closer to being the .259/.312/.403 hitter he's been thus far in his MLB career. When he went down with the initial shoulder injury, Flores, then 24 and in his first full-season as the Nats' no.1 backstop, was hitting .301 with three doubles, two triples, four HR's, a .371 OBP and a .505 SLG in 29 games and 106 plate appearances in 2009. He's had just the six plate appearances this year at the major league level since.

The return of a healthy Pudge Rodriguez, if he can recover quickly from the oblique issues, should once again open up the debate about whether or not the Nationals can get by without the veteran catcher guiding and aiding in the development of Wilson Ramos, the former Minnesota Twins' backstop prospect who was acquired by Washington last July at the Trade Deadline. 

The San Francisco Giants, on-again-off-again suitors for Pudge all season as they've looked to fill-in for the injured Buster Posey behind the plate, are on-again according to Mercury News' San Francisco Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly, who wrote last night in an article entitled, "POSTGAME NOTES: The latest on Carlos Beltran, and will Nationals budge on PUDGE", that, "There’s one guy out there who continues to make sense," for the Giants' catching needs, and, "That’s Pudge Rodriguez,":

"The Nationals don’t need him, he has experience in a pennant stretch, and he’ll get a glowing recommendation from new Giants special assignment scout Jim Riggleman."

Mr. Baggarly admits in the post that he doesn't know if the Giants have reached out again though they did early this season, but as he writes, "... they didn’t get a response from GM Mike Rizzo. But I guess they aren’t the only folks who’ve had that problem with him."

The Nats' GM, the last time these rumors cropped up in late May, told reporters, including Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, as quoted in an article entitled, "Mike Rizzo won’t trade Ivan Rodriguez for a ‘quick fix’", that in order for Washington to consider trading the veteran backstop, "...somebody would have to come up with a piece that would help us in our long-term future." The Nationals, "will not part with him for a pittance, and they are not actively seeking out a trade for him," the WaPost writer noted at the time, and Pudge himself told reporters he'd informed Mr. Rizzo he'd like to stay in the nation's capital. 14 days and counting...

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