Sure, Eddy Rodriguez is retired, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if you were around him.
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher announced his retirement from the game on Friday, but he’s already found a way to game himself busy. Two ways, actually.
Rodriguez is working on a pair of endeavors — with a baseball analytics company called DatraksPro and in a partnership with All-Star Catchers Gear. Oh, and he plans on making multiple trips back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area this winter, the first one being for the RailRiders University Holiday Clinic at the end of the month.
“I’m honestly busier than I’ve ever been,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be cool during the winter meetings, to be a part of that. It’s a really exciting time for me and my family at this point.”
After conversations with the New York Yankees, Rodriguez says he’s doesn’t “doubt” that there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to come back and play in a similar role to this past season — backing up Kyle Higashioka with the RailRiders — but the 12-year pro was at the point in his career where things off the field became more attractive.
Especially DatraksPro, which provides Rodriguez with the opportunity to help amateurs reach the next level, whether it be professionally or collegiality.
“I’ve been fortunate,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve accomplished a lot in the terms of the people I’ve met, the people I’ve been around, and I felt like — one thing that I wanted to do was to go out on my own terms and not wait until January or February, and there might not be a team interested in me and me kind of being in limbo.
“In addition to that, there are two or three opportunities that I’m currently working on off the field that made the transition to leave the professional baseball end on the note that I did.”
Rodriguez described the Orlando-based DatraksPro as a start-up baseball analytics company that will get “kids at the amateur level to be valued for what they do, not the opinion of a third-party scouting report that really doesn’t have the credentials to be giving the scouting reports.”
By forming a centralized analytics software, DatraksPro will provide a LinkedIn-like network for amateur baseball players. Using his contacts throughout his 12-year career, Rodriguez will act as a liaison between Major League organizations and “amateur data.”
Defensive analytics is something that Rodriguez credits to extending his career, which made DatraksPro a venture that was extremely easy to back.
“Something we’re trying to do as a company is be sure that when it comes to college opportunities and student-athlete opportunities after high school, we’re making sure people are fishing where the first are at and we want to do that through the use of analytics,” Rodriguez said. “Teams are going to be further informed of all of the data values that we have at the Minor League level and the big-league level, especially with all of the teams. Velocity of the radar gun is a dinosaur in 2017 and we have the machines — and everybody has the access to the machines to get these data points — but we’re going to be trailblazing and setting the standard and creating relationships on that end.
“As I saw the value (of analytics) for myself, I was like, ‘All right, well, let’s find value in other people so they can further extend their career.’ I got to extend my career from whatever it was — two or three years — in professional baseball up to 12 years. Maybe I can extend a kid from a JV player to a junior college player.”
Rodriguez’s partnership with All-Star is something he saw as a natural relationship.
The retired catcher will work with All-Star in everything from product development to meeting with catchers in different Major League clubhouses, and everything in between.
“It’s a great relationship. The stuff that I’m doing and their backing and support of me is amazing,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no limit to it, which has what’s been amazing to me. These different entities offering these opportunities to me.”
When the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre front office mentioned the possibility of Rodriguez working at their clinics, he couldn’t turn the opportunity down.
The former RailRiders catcher will be in the area for five days for the holiday camp and an event with Baseball U PA during the last week December and also plans to come back for the coaches clinic in January.
“My time that I have spent in Scranton, and my family has spent in Scranton, I’ve been treated like just part of the city,” Rodriguez said. “I’m envious to somebody like (former RailRiders pitcher and Crestwood alum) Matt Wotherspoon — somebody that’s from the area — and I can see how people embrace them. It’s such a cool thing. He’s a hometown kid. Honestly, the way that the city’s made me feel, and the organization has made me feel, is the same exact way. I don’t feel I’m a stranger.
“I’m really, really excited. The way I talked to (the RailRiders) about it, is like I won’t ever alienate myself from the Scranton connection.”