Pudge's market opening up

For the first time since winning the World Series in 2003, Pudge Rodriguez was back at Dolphin Stadium on Friday. The 37-year-old catcher playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic was in high demand.

Pudge addressed his chances of signing with the Marlins, and he noted that “communication” has been on-going with the team and his agent, Scott Boras. Pudge added that he wants to play, and he would be open to seeing some action at either first base or third base.

Clearly, playing time is part of the equation. With John Baker as the Marlins starter, Rodriguez would have to compete for his playing time. Nothing is guaranteed, but he would be hard pressed to find a starting job anywhere else.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports on Friday night that the Giants and Twins also are interested in Pudge, joining the Marlins and Astros.

The Marlins are monitoring Rodriguez closely at the World Baseball Classic. The team is strongly considering signing him.

An 18-year veteran, Rodriguez has 2,605 career hits. He would like to reach 3,000, and to do so, obviously, he would need to play a few more seasons and see ample playing time.

His fit with the Marlins this year would be similar in some ways to 2003. Back then, he didn’t have much interest elsewhere, and both sides profited by his arrival. Rodriguez helped Florida win a World Series title, and he made himself marketable enough for a four-year, $40 million contract with Detroit.

If he signed with the Marlins this year, it again would be a one-year deal to position himself for a multiyear contract beginning in 2010.

– Joe Frisaro

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