Detroit Tigers: 2004-2008
Similar to Mickey Cochrane, Rodriguez is a Hall of Fame catcher who was most famous for playing on another team. Pudge has a legitimate argument as the greatest catcher in major league history, as he amassed a 68.7 bWAR in 2,427 games behind the plate, the most of all-time.
Rodriguez spent the first 11 years of his career playing for the Rangers. He then signed with the Marlins for one year, helping them win the 2003 World Series behind a 20-year-old rookie named Miguel Cabrera.
Pudge then signed with the Tigers in February of 2004. He immediately posted one of the best years of his career, slashing .334/.383/.510 with 19 home runs, 86 RBI, seven steals, a 137 OPS+ and a 4.5 bWAR. He was named to his 11th All-Star game (he would accrue 14 total) and finished 10th in MVP voting while winning both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award, a feat he accomplished seven times.
Pudge was an All-Star again in 2005, although it was his worst full season by OPS+ (at 95) since 1992. He hit .276 but only drew 11 walks for a .290 OBP. He hit 14 home runs with 50 RBI.
Rodriguez rebounded for the Tigers in their memorable 2006 season, hitting .300/.332/.437 with 13 home runs, 69 RBI and a 3.1 bWAR.
Although he was an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner in 2007, it was one of the worst full seasons of Pudge’s career. He slashed .281/.294/.420 with an 84 OPS+. He rebounded in 2008, hitting .295 in 82 games before he was traded at the trade deadline to the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
Rodriguez finished his Tigers career with a .298/.328/.449 slash line and 62 home runs. He was a four-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves. While Rodriguez may be the best catcher of all-time, he finishes as the fifth best Tigers catcher.