Rodriguez, Tigers aim to finalize deal soon

Posted: Sunday, February 01, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) The Detroit Tigers and Ivan Rodriguez moved closer to finalizing their $40 million, four-year contract, and the deal could be announced Monday afternoon.

The sides were faxing language Saturday aimed at finishing off the agreement, a baseball source said on the condition of anonymity. The goal was to complete the deal in time for a news conference Monday in Detroit, the source said.

Rodriguez and the Tigers moved to the verge of agreement last Wednesday, and have worked since then at putting the deal in writing. He took a physical for Detroit on Thursday in Dallas.

Detroit is trying to rebuild from a season in which the Tigers went 43-119, setting the American League record for losses. Detroit won five of its last six games to avoid tying the post-1900 major league record of 120 losses, set by the 1962 New York Mets.

With 10 straight losing seasons, Detroit has watched attendance drop. After moving into Comerica Park in 2000, the Tigers' home attendance dropped to 1.37 million last season, 27th among the 30 major league teams.

To spur rebuilding, the Tigers reached agreements with second baseman Fernando Vina ($6 million for two years), outfielder Rondell White ($6 million for two years), right-hander Jason Johnson ($7 million for two years)

Rodriguez had a $10 million, one-year contract with Florida last season and helped lead the Marlins to the World Series title, earning the MVP award in the NL championship series win over the Chicago Cubs.

The 10-time All-Star catcher hit .313 last season with 16 homers and 85 RBIs.



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