New York Ivan Rodriguez was the steady hand for the Florida Marlins when they won the 2003 World Series. A year later, he was the spark that helped turn around the Detroit franchise when nobody wanted to be a Tiger.
The New York Yankees hope he can be a little of both during their push for the playoffs.
The Yankees acquired the 14-time All-Star from the Tigers on Wednesday for hard-throwing reliever Kyle Farnsworth, a trade that filled glaring holes for both contenders.
"Honestly, I was shocked by this, but that's baseball," Rodriguez said. "Now, I'm just looking forward to playing for the Yankees and maybe I will play against Detroit again in the playoffs."
In the option year of a $50 million deal he signed with the Tigers in February 2004, Rodriguez will try to fill the void in the Yankees' lineup created by catcher Jorge Posada's shoulder injury. Posada had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday and is out for the season.
The 36-year-old Rodriguez, who has 13 Gold Glove awards, was hitting .295 with five homers in 82 games this season.
Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Rodriguez are the only three players in baseball history with at least 12 Gold Gloves and a career .300 average or better. Rodriguez has caught 2,142 games, trailing only Carlton Fisk (2,226) and Bob Boone (2,225) in terms of longevity behind the plate.
"He's still an everyday guy," Yankees manager Brian Cashman said. "He's an upgrade in spite of everything we've got."
Farnsworth was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 45 games, and joins a bullpen badly in need of reinforcements after Todd Jones was removed from the closer role.
Farnsworth pitched for the Tigers for the first four months of 2005, compiling a 2.32 ERA in 46 games before he was traded to the Braves at the trading deadline.
"Kyle was a big part of our bullpen," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was tough to see him go."