|All-Star catcher Rodriguez will be back for 5th season with Tigers|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 09 October 2007 07:04|
Detroit exercised an option Tuesday on the All-Star catcher's contract, retaining him for a fifth season at a hefty price.
The Tigers could have bought him out of the last year of his deal for $3 million, but they didn't like the prospect of not having Rodriguez behind the plate next year.
``The Tigers are pleased to have Pudge back for the 2008 season,'' Tigers president and general manager David Dombrowski said in a statement. ``He has done a tremendous amount for our franchise in his four seasons in Detroit.''
The Tigers had up to 10 days after the World Series to make the call. In an interview with The Associated Press last week, team owner Mike Ilitch hinted he was leaning toward bringing Rodriguez back.
``Pudge did a big thing for us, putting a face on the franchise,'' Ilitch said. ``He's made a lot of contributions.''
When nobody wanted to play for the Tigers - at any price - Rodriguez signed a $40 million, four-year deal with them after they lost an AL-record 119 games in 2003. Rodriguez had helped Florida win the World Series, earning the MVP award in the NL championship series.
Rodriguez batted .281 with 50 runs scored, 31 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 63 RBI in 129 games for the Tigers this season.
He was an All-Star in each of his four seasons with the Tigers, earning a spot in baseball's midsummer classic this year for the 14th time. He also won two more Gold Gloves - giving him a record 12 as a catcher.
Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Rodriguez are the only three players in baseball history with at least 12 Gold Gloves and a career .300 average or better.
Rodriguez has caught 2,061 games, including at least 123 each season in Detroit, to trail only Carlton Fisk (2,226) and Bob Boone (2,225) in terms of longevity behind the plate.