In 2012, Sean Rodriguez had a chance to cement himself as a big league starting shortstop. Reid Brignac fell apart. Elliot Johnson couldn’t field. Rodriguez had the ability to be a solid shortstop on both sides of the ball, being a decent hitter with solid on-base skills, some power, good baserunning skills, and good defense. But if Rodriguez has those talents, he didn’t show it in 2012. Rodriguez managed just a .215/.278/.330 line, just a 72 OPS+, with 14 doubles, 6 homers, 32 RBI, 5 of 5 stolen bases, and just 72-24 strikeout to walk ratio in 106 games and 335 plate appearances. He saw time at shortstop, third base, and second base, but he played well consistently only at second and that wasn’t good enough for the Rays.
Rodriguez did appear to finally start to put something together during his last 29 big league plate appearances before getting sent down, posting a .308/.379/.423 line. But his overall body of work simply wasn’t good enough for the Rays to reconsider sending him down and keeping Johnson on the roster when Luke Scott came off the DL. The Rays probably imagined Johnson getting cut and designated for assignment before the season was through. Injuries nixed that for a while, but it wouldn’t have mattered if Rodriguez played well. He didn’t, and Johnson remains on the team while Rodriguez is at Triple-A.
Rodriguez blew his chance thanks to his poor play on the field. And now his latest incident seals his fate. Rodriguez broke a bone in his hand punching a locker on Sunday following an argument he had with a teammate. We don’t imagine Rodriguez as that type of person, and Rodriguez admitted afterwards that it was the stupidest thing he ever did, but how could he let something like that happen just a few days before he was going to be called up after active rosters expanded to 40 players on September 1st? Between poor play and poor decisions, Sean Rodriguez has put himself in a hole. He may never fully recover.