Catcher Ivan Rodriguez has agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Houston Astros.
Fantasy: Lots of work for Pudge
Tristan H. Cockcroft says Ivan Rodriguez will get lots of playing time in Houston, but that doesn't mean he's a highly valued fantasy catcher at this point in his career. Fantasy Baseball Blog
The deal is contingent on Rodriguez taking a physical, the catcher said in an interview Monday on ESPN, adding that "finally, you know, [a deal is] very close." Rodriguez said there was interest from several teams, but the Astros were the team that showed the most interest.
Rodriguez can make an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses.
ESPN's Steve Phillips first reported the deal.
"It's very important for me [to be a starter] because I feel good enough to play every day," Rodriguez said. "I feel very good, ready to play a whole season."
He added that his play with Puerto Rico probably boosted his bid to find a regular-season team.
"It helps a lot for some players like myself, who still don't have a job," Rodriguez said. "I think this Classic has been a very important factor."
Florida also had inquired. Rodriguez helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series.
"There was some interest and we'll leave it at that," Marlins vice president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "Obviously, we have a lot of affection for Pudge and what he did in '03. There was interest there, and he made another choice, and that's the way it goes. Hopefully, it works out for him."
Houston needed a veteran catcher to replace Brad Ausmus, who became a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros have several young catchers in camp who need time to develop. Houston used Ausmus, J.R. Towles and Humberto Quintero at the position last season.
It appeared earlier that Quintero would be the starter this season, but he'll likely move to a backup role.
At the World Baseball Classic, Rodriguez, a 14-time major league All-Star, is hitting .600 (9-for-15) in four games for Puerto Rico.
Rodriguez hit .276 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 115 games with the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees last year. He is the only player in baseball history with at least 13 Gold Gloves and a career .300 average or better.
He has three more Gold Gloves, earning one as recently as 2007, than Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and almost double the total of Bob Boone, who is third on the list. Among position players, only Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson has more Gold Glove awards.
Rodriguez has caught 2,173 games, trailing only Carlton Fisk (2,226) and Boone (2,225) in terms of longevity behind the plate.
Ivan Rodriguez agrees to one-year, $1.5 million contract with Houston Astros - ESPN
"When Events Test Men, Angels Appear"
Pudge passes physical, officially an Astro
By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer
Mar 20, 5:52 pm EDT
AP - Mar 16, 4:07 pm EDT MLB Gallery KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP)—Ivan Rodriguez’s $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros was finalized Friday after the catcher passed his physical.
“We’re very happy to have him here,” general manager Ed Wade said. “Obviously it’s a huge upgrade to our ballclub to have somebody with his ability and experience and we think it’s another step in the direction we want to go to bring a World Series to Houston.”
The 13-time Gold Glove winner hit .276 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 115 games last season with Detroit and the Yankees, who acquired him in July. He expects to make his spring debut for the Astros on Sunday, and he should be in good shape after playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
Houston needed a veteran catcher to replace Brad Ausmus, who became a free agent and signed with the Dodgers. Last year, the Astros used Ausmus, Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles behind the plate.
The 37-year-old Rodriguez will likely start in Houston, moving Quintero, who had been projected to start, into the backup role. Rodriguez didn’t play as much as he wanted to last season.
He could earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses: $200,000 each for 350, 375, 400, 425 and 450 plate appearances; $150,000 apiece for 90 and 100 games; and $200,000 for 110 games.
“I still can play this game on an everyday basis,” Rodriguez said “That’s the reason that I came to the Astros, because it was the only team that offered me the everyday basis job.”
Rodriguez said waiting to get a new team was difficult.
“I’m glad that it’s over,” he said. “Now it’s official that I’m going to be with the Astros for this 2009 season, and I just look forward to having a great year and make this ballclub be in the playoffs. That’s going to be my goal.”
He will wear No. 14 during spring training and No. 12 for the season, the same number he wore in New York. His longtime No. 7 was retired by the Astros last year for Craig Biggio.
“I love No. 7, but I respect that No. 7 here is untouchable,” he said. “Craig Biggio used this number for years, and I respect that. But No. 12, I like that number. But it doesn’t matter to me the number. Right now I just look forward to play and use whatever number in the back and do my best in the field.”
Pudge passes physical, officially an Astro - MLB - Yahoo! Sports
"When Events Test Men, Angels Appear"
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