When the Marlins last stood atop the baseball world in 2003, Ivan Rodriguez was their catcher. Five years later, the club has inquired about whether Rodriguez, Part II, might be a possibility in South Florida, but so far the Tigers are saying no.
In their search for a veteran catcher, the Marlins -- who sit just 1 1/2 games back in the National League East -- have asked the Tigers about Rodriguez's availability, according to the Miami Herald. Detroit, however, is holding firm as a .500 club seven games out in the American League Central. After getting off to a dreadful start, the Tigers feel they still have a shot at overtaking the White Sox and Twins. To do that, Rodriguez would likely have to be a big part of the equation.
But should the Tigers fall 10 games or more back around the time of the July 31 Trade Deadline, they might have to re-evaluate whether holding onto Rodriguez makes sense.
Florida has periodically been linked in recent weeks to Washington's Paul Lo Duca as a possible catching solution, but the Herald reports that the Marlins have no interest in Lo Duca. Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba and Cincinnati's David Ross are among other catchers who could be on the market. However, the Marlins are not believed to be enamored with either player.
Rodriguez has been coming on strong for the Tigers over the last month. That fact, coupled with Brandon Inge's oblique injury, reinforces the notion that Detroit will likely stay with Rodriguez unless the club goes downhill in a hurry.
If the Marlins can't land an impact catcher for the stretch run, they may use their resources to upgrade the bullpen instead. Florida is said to be among several teams interested in Colorado lefty Brian Fuentes. According to the Herald, another tier of relievers that could potentially be available includes Kansas City's Ron Mahay; Pittsburgh's Damaso Marte; Cincinnati's Jeremy Affeldt, David Weathers and Mike Lincoln; Seattle's Arthur Rhodes and Baltimore's Chad Bradford.
The Marlins have been encouraged by the work of their starting rotation, and another proven arm in the Florida bullpen could catch the attention of the Phillies and Mets. Owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to add payroll, according to the Herald.
Detroit's reluctance to be drawn into discussions with Florida at this juncture about a Rodriguez deal reflects the confidence of the Tigers organization about what might happen in the second half.
The Tigers have hopes of hitting another gear with the impending return of outfielder Magglio Ordonez.
Detroit has been without Ordonez since June 29, when he was sidelined with a pulled oblique. Ordonez will be activated Thursday prior to the Tigers' game at Camden Yards.
Bob Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.