Pudge says goodbye to Marlins
Free-agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez turned down a multiyear worth more than $7 million a year late Sunday, ending any hopes the Marlins had of holding on to the 10-time All-Star.
''He will not be a Marlin in 2004,'' general manager Larry Beinfest said early this morning.
The Marlins didn't make an offer to Rodriguez agent, Scott Boras
, until last week, after they had reached agreement on multiyear deals with Mike Lowell and Luis Castillo. And that fact figured in the Rodriguez talks. The playoff MVP, who hit .297 with 16 homers and 85 RBI last season, was angered that Lowell got nearly double his 2003 salary and Castillo received a boost of $2.3 million over four years while he was asked to take a pay cut.
The Marlins did the math a little differently, however. Although Rodriguez earned $9.3 million last season, the Marlins paid him just $3 million of that, with the rest due in deferred payments over the next two summers. So for the ballclub, offering Rodriguez a new contract worth $20 million over three seasons actually means paying him nearly $10 million in both 2004 and 2005.
''I tried my best to remain a Marlin by not requesting a salary increase,'' Rodriguez said in a statement issued by Boras. ``To my knowledge, I'm the only major leaguer in recent times who won the World Series and received a postseason MVP award, and yet his club did not offer a higher salary.''