Rodriguez, Maddux still not close to deals

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2004

NEW YORK Less than four weeks before the start of spring training, Ivan Rodriguez and Greg Maddux are still looking for the right deals.

Rodriguez, the 10-time All-Star catcher who helped Florida win the World Series last year, received a $40 million, four-year offer from Detroit last week.

His agent, Scott Boras, plans to make a counteroffer to the Tigers on Friday. Rodriguez isn't close to a deal.

''We're continuing to talk to a number of teams and are working through this in a methodical fashion,'' Boras said Thursday.

Rodriguez rejected a $24 million, three-year offer to re-sign with Florida on Dec. 7. The Marlins are ineligible to re-sign him until May 1, although they could agree to a minor league deal and bring him up after the first month.

''We have no rights to him,'' general manager Larry Beinfest said Thursday. ''I would absolutely say all these things are speculative because there's nothing we can do on our end. Pudge is a terrific ballplayer. I'm sure there's a lot of interest in him and ultimately it's up to him what he's doing with his career and where he wants to play, and we're not a part of that right now.''

Maddux, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, has received a two-year offer from the Chicago Cubs but also isn't close to a decision, Boras said.

Among players in salary arbitration, AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay agreed to a $42 million, four-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. He would have been eligible for free agency after the 2005 season.

''I want to win here and be part of a team that builds something rather than going out and just trying to sign with a team that has the best chance to win,'' he said. ''It's hard to say what things are like in other organizations, but I can't see myself being any happier anyplace else.''

Halladay, 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA last season, gets $6 million this year, $10.5 million in 2005, $12.7 million in 2006 and $12.8 million in 2007.

''If you have one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball, that's a commodity that you don't want to let get away,'' Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. ''We think our best baseball is ahead of us and we wanted Roy to be part of that.''

Utilityman Damian Rolls agreed to an $800,000, one-year contract with Tampa Bay. The 26-year-old infielder-outfielder sought $900,000 and the Devil Rays offered $700,000. The difference was the smallest among the 27 players who exchanged figures with their teams in arbitration Tuesday.

Tampa Bay also agreed to an $850,000, one-year contract with left-hander Damian Moss and a minor league contract with right-hander Todd Ritchie, who would get a $500,000 deal if he's added to the roster.

Shingo Takatsu, Japan's career saves leader with 260, finalized his $1 million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.

''Takatsu has enjoyed a spectacular 13-year career in Japanese baseball, and ranks as one of the greatest relief pitchers in his country's history,'' White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. ''We were impressed by his desire to come to the United States and fulfill his dream of competing in major league baseball.''

In Coral Gables, Fla., Orlando Hernandez worked out in front of scouts for about 20 major league teams, and the free-agent pitcher said he's nearing a full recovery from shoulder surgery.

El Duque, who missed all of last season, threw 35 pitches at the University of Miami.

''I'm not 100 percent, but by spring training I should be 100 percent,'' Hernandez said through an interpreter. ''I'm at about 85 percent. I've been coming back quicker and quicker every day.''

In San Salvador, El Salvador, Cuban pitcher Maels Rodriguez and second baseman Yobal Duenas worked out for scouts from 15 teams, including the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox.

The players fled Cuba in October, arriving by boat in Mexico. They traveled to El Salvador at the end of last year.

''The important thing is to show that I am very well physically, that the arm is healthy,'' said Rodriguez, who didn't top 90 mph.

AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.



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