Marlins Ink Pudge

Wednesday, January 22 2003 @ 06:39 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

In a freakishly bizarre move, the Florida Marlins have signed Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to a one-year, $10 million dollar contract.

It's clearly a move nobody in this blog community saw coming -- witness the last few days of assumption that Pudge would backstop the horrid Orioles this year -- and for good reason.

First, for the Marlins: Bad team. Little chance to win. Clearly on a cost-cutting mission. Why Pudge? The only reasons I can fathom are (A) possibly replicating the massive goodwill generated by a popular All-Star, potentially Hall-of-Fame Latino ballplayer in a community starved for such role models -- Dallas, meet Miami; and (B) If he's healthy, maybe he leads the Marlins to a pennant charge in a revamped division and even if they don't win, surely someone will deal prospects for his one-year contract in July.

Second, for Pudge: Coming off an injury-plagued season or three, do you really want to learn all the new pitchers (as a hitter -- he's never bothered to learn much about the pitchers he catches) in a new league ... and that being a league where your breaking-down body can't rack up good offensive numbers at DH once in a while?

Finally, kudos (in order) to Lee Sinins and Jamey Newberg, who according to my e-mail Inbox beat both major domestic wire services to this story.

Anyway, I guess this is great news for Geronimo Gil ...