Catcher's agent says talks ongoing

Updated: January 16, 2004, 9:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Agent Scott Boras was in Detroit on Thursday to talk to the Tigers about Ivan Rodriguez, but it doesn't appear that a deal for the 10-time All-Star catcher is imminent.

Rodriguez arrived earlier Thursday to take a physical, as requested by Tigers owner Mike Illitch, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Boras, reached Thursday night by the Associated Press, declined to comment on the Rodriguez negotiations other than to say they were ongoing with several teams.

On Wednesday, Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said the team remained interested in Rodriguez. Dombrowski said then there hadn't been any new developments and wouldn't speculate if there would be additional talks.

The Tigers first showed an interest in acquiring Rodriguez in November, at which time Illitch said he was willing to overspend to bring free agents to Detroit, the Free Press reported.

It is not known how much Illitch is willing to spend on Rodriguez, but a source close to the negotiations told the Free Press that the Tigers have "done their homework on this and are very prepared."

A high-ranking team official at the owners' meetings said the Baltimore Orioles remained interested in signing Rodriguez, even though they already agreed to a $22.5 million, three-year contract with Javy Lopez. Because the Orioles play in the American League, they figure they could give the pair time both behind the plate and at designated hitter if they sign Rodriguez, the official said.

Rodriguez, MVP of the NL championship series, had a $10 million, one-year deal with the Florida Marlins last season and helped them to the World Series title. He asked for a $40 million, four-year contract from Florida, which broke off talks Dec. 7 by refusing to offer salary arbitration.

Detroit set an AL record with 119 losses last season -- one short of the modern major league record held by the 1962 New York Mets.

The Tigers have been active in the free-agent market, agreeing to $6 million, two-year contracts with second baseman Fernando Vina and outfielder Rondell White. At a lower level, Detroit also agreed to one-year contracts with right-hander Al Levine ($925,000) and catcher Mike DiFelice ($650,000) and to a minor league deal with third baseman Greg Norton, who would get a $600,000, one-year contract if he is added to the roster.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.