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Saturday, January 31, 2004
Updated: February 1, 11:03 AM ET
Agent says two sides still negotiating

ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- Ivan Rodriguez, who backstopped the Florida Marlins to a World Series title, has agreed to terms on a four-year, $40 million contract with the Tigers, according to reports out of Detroit late Saturday night.

While Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, has denied the deal is done, he revealed that negotiations are ongoing and that the 32-year-old catcher has passed a physical

"We are still negotiating contract language, but there has been no 'verbal agreement,'" Boras said in a statement. "Mr. Rodriguez has completed and passed a physical [for the Tigers]. We will not have any more comment until Monday."

Both WXYT-AM (1270) and WDFN-AM (1130) have reported that the two sides have agreed on a four-year, $40 million deal that includes opt-out clauses that would allow the Tigers to shorten the deal in case of injury.

Under the terms being negotiated, Detroit could terminate the contract after the 2005 season if Rodriguez is on the DL for a lumbar spine injury for 35 or more days in either 2004 or 2005, a baseball source, on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press earlier in the week.

Detroit also would have the right to end the contract after the 2006 season if he is on the DL for 35 or more days because of a lumbar spine injury that year, the source said.

The 10-time All-Star catcher does not currently have any injuries, but the provision would protect the Tigers if one occurs.

Rodriguez, 32, played his first 12 major league seasons with the Rangers, winning the 1999 AL MVP award.

He signed a $10 million, one-year contract with the Marlins and hit .313 last season with 16 homers and 85 RBIs. He was MVP of the NL championship series win over the Chicago Cubs, then helped Florida beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Rodriguez is a career .304 hitter with 231 homers and 914 RBI in 1,623 games but figures to have his work cut out for him with a young pitching staff prone to mistakes. Detroit has a couple of talented pitchers but is at least a couple of years away from contention.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.