Pudge Rodriguez courtship with the Baltimore Orioles was quick and not so sweet. The Marlins apparently topped the Os' offer and have landed Ivan Rodriguez for one year at $10 M. Pudge made about $9.6 M last year in Texas, so after all the hand wringing he ends up getting a raise.
Of course today it's never that easy (from ESPN):
Florida will pay Rodriguez $3 million this year, with the remainder deferred without interest. The Marlins will pay him $3 million on June 1, 2004, and $2 million each on June 1 in the following two years.
Rodriguez should play well for Florida if he can avoid injury, which he has not been able to do since his MVP year. The Marlins might have cause for concern in other areas as well, i.e., their young staff. Pudge does not have a great track record in developing young pitching talent. Add the fact that they had a decent catcher, offensively and defensively, in Mike Redmond already on the roster and the move seems less than a necessity (as opposed to, say, a Cleveland or Milwaukee team that does not have anything better than an average backup catcher on the roster). He is by no means an all-star but seems a serviceable catcher.
It seems a lot of money for a team that paid its top player (Cliff Floyd) "only" $6.5 M last year. I guess with Floyd and other high-priced players (Johnson, Wilson, Taveras, Lloyd, Dempster, and Owens-in fact the Marlins kept only 4 of 11 players making $2 M or more in 2002), they could afford him. The Marlins seem committed to developing their young staff. They paid Charles Johnson $10 M over the last two years to do it, and now they will pay Pudge that much to do it in 2003. The staff was below average at best under Johnson's tutelage (4.59 and 4.71 ERAs). They may fair better under Rodriguez, but $10 M seems a steep price to pay for it.