Ivan Rodriguez finalized his $40 million, four-year contract with the Detroit Tigers yesterday, leaving the World Series champion Florida Marlins to join a team that last year set the American League record for losses.
The signing of the 10-time All-Star catcher was the latest high-profile move by the Tigers, who went 43-119 last season. Second baseman Fernando Vina and outfielder Rondell White agreed to $6 million, two-year deals in December, and starting pitcher Jason Johnson signed a $7 million, two-year contract later that month. Rodriguez, a 10-time Gold Glove winner and MVP of the NL championship series, gets $7 million this year, $8 million in 2005, and $11 million each in 2006 and 2007, according to contract information obtained by The Associated Press. Rodriguez had a $10 million, one-year deal with the Marlins last year. He asked for a $40 million, four-year contract from Florida, which broke off talks Dec. 7.A's land Karros The Oakland Athletics and free agent infielder Eric Karros agreed on a $1.05 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2005. Last season, the 36-year-old Karros batted .286 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs for the Cubs after playing for the Dodgers the previous 12 years. He made 84 starts at first base for Chicago, which lost to Florida in the NL championship series. Karros has five seasons with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs and had his best season in 1999, when he hit .304 with 34 homers and 112 RBIs . . . The Minnesota Twins avoided salary arbitration with lefthanded reliever J.C. Romero by agreeing to an $820,000, one-year contract. Romero, 27, struggled last season (2-0, 5.00 ERA, 73 appearances) after being one of Minnesota's best pitchers in 2002 . . . Former Red Sox outfielder Wil Cordero, 32, and the Marlins agreed to terms on a $600,000, one-year contract. Cordero (.278, 16 home runs, 71 RBIs for Montreal last season) must pass a physical for the deal to become final . . . Former Red Sox righthander Pat Mahomes, 33, agreed to a minor league contract with the Expos.