Work in Sports
Cubs send Rodriguez to Marlins for minor leaguers
The move was unusual for a cost-conscious team not in playoff contention, but the Marlins want to win back fans by winning more games, and they think Rodriguez can help. He'll fill in for left fielder Cliff Floyd, who underwent knee surgery Saturday and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.
Rodriguez, who has a $4.5 million salary, will likely be with the Marlins for only the rest of this year, general manager Dave Dombrowski said. Floyd is expected back in left field in 2001.
The Marlins hold a $5.2 million club option on Rodriguez for 2001 with a $600,000 buyout. He's due about $1.5 million for the balance of this season, and the Cubs gave the Marlins "a large portion" of that amount in cash, Dombrowski said.
Chicago acquired outfielder-first baseman Ross Gload and left-hander David Noyce, neither among the top prospects in Florida's talent-rich minor-league system.
Rodriguez is the most prominent player obtained by the Marlins since they acquired catcher Mike Piazza for a brief stint in May 1998 during the dismantling of the 1997 World Series champions. Florida's preference was to swap veterans for prospects.
"A page has been turned," manager John Boles said. "This is certainly a 180 as far as what's been happening the past couple of years."
Dombrowski said owner John Henry, eager to improve attendance and win support for a new ballpark, approved the deal.
"Hopefully it can keep a positive feeling going," Dombrowski said.
The Marlins, who had the National League's worst record each of the past two seasons, began this week third in the East at 51-53. Boles was pleased to acquire Rodriguez, and he was also happy that none of the Marlins' young players were dealt away before the major-league trading deadline passed Monday afternoon.
"We're going forward," Boles said. "I hope the fans will say, 'These guys are serious about winning.'''
Rodriguez, 32, should help Florida win. In three seasons with the Cubs, he had 75 home runs and 223 RBIs. This year he's batting .251 with 18 homers and 51 RBIs.
Like Floyd, Rodriguez is a left-handed power hitter, and he'll bat third in the lineup. Rodriguez will report Wednesday to Florida, his fourth team, and he'll be in the lineup that night against Houston, Boles said.
Rodriguez said he was surprised to be traded, especially to a non-contender, and he had hoped to stay in Chicago.
"When you spend a couple of years with a team, it's always hard to leave," he said.
But while discussing the deal with reporters, he noted that he has a brother and cousin living in Fort Lauderdale, and that he'll be closer to his native Dominican Republic.
By the end of the conversation, he sounded more upbeat.
"You know what?" he said. "I'm very happy right now."
The Cubs assigned Gload their Class AAA club at Iowa and Noyce to Class A Daytona.
Goad, 24, was batting .284 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs for Class AA Portland. Noyce, 23, was 6-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 18 games for Class A Brevard County.