David Rodriguez joined the Rays organization as a 17-year-old catcher out of Venezuela and spend the next five seasons floundering through the minors. The Rays profiled him as a power hitter with a strong arm behind the plate, and over the years he hasn’t put both together to merit a call-up to the majors.
To his credit, Rodriguez has mashed in winter ball, registering a 1.247 OPS in Australia in 2016 and a 1.060 OPS in Venezuela this past year. But in his highest level of affiliated baseball for double-A Montgomery in 2019, he hit for only a .669 OPS and seven home runs in close to 300 plate appearances.
The Mets signed him to a minor-league deal prior to the 2020 season and brought him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, but the pandemic stifled any opportunity he would have to play in the system. He will likely get his first chance to play in the organization once the regular season begins, but the chances of that happening in Queens are wafer-thin.
Rodriguez is only a year younger than Tomás Nido and two years younger than Patrick Mazeika, two young catchers that supplant him by their inclusion on the 40-man roster. With super-prospect Francisco Álvarez still developing, Rodriguez might have had a chance to crack the major league roster after the Ali Sanchez trade, but the additions of major-league-experienced Bruce Maxwell and Caleb Joseph make this a far-fetched idea.
Hopefully Rodriguez can parlay another spring invitation to an extended stay in Syracuse this season. But even in an organization where catching still remains a question, Rodriguez doesn’t have much of a chance to play beyond double-A this season.