Top draftee signs with Mariners Rodriquez spurns school for $1.3M AMERICAN LEAGUE

August 31, 1993|By Seattle Post-Intelligencer

SEATTLE -- Alex Rodriguez's decision to hit a baseball for the Seattle Mariners instead of the books at University of Miami went against the wishes of his two most influential advisers.

His older sister, Suzy Dunand, and agent Scott Boras said yesterday the 18-year-old shortstop would have been better off financially by holding out longer.

"I'm not excited about it because I don't think he got a fair deal," Dunand said from her Miami home. "He wants to play professional baseball, and I guess that's the reason [he signed]."

Three months of communications by fax machines and nearly 28 hours of off-and-on, face-to-face negotiations ended at about 3 a.m. EDT yesterday morning in Miami when Rodriguez, the top pick in the June amateur draft, agreed to a three-year contract worth at least $1.3 million. Included in the package is a $1 million signing bonus, major-league contracts for 1994, 1995 and 1996, invitations to spring training every year and a September call-up each season.

Rodriguez also can make his own deal with a trading card company, potentially worth at least $250,000. And the Mariners agreed to pay for his college education, a point Rodriguez called important in the face-to-face negotiations that began Saturday night.

"I think he could have gotten a lot more if he had waited and gone through the draft next year," said Boras. "He made his own decision."

The deal is worth about $300,000 more than Seattle's original offer, but less than the record $1.55 million the Yankees paid to Brien Taylor, top pick in the 1991 draft.

On the advice of Dunand and Boras, Rodriguez was holding out for a contract worth $3.2 million.

Rodriguez had enrolled at Miami, where he had a baseball scholarship. He agreed to the contract about five hours before an 8 a.m. psychology class. If he had gone to class, the Mariners would have lost their negotiating rights.

"Basically it was my decision to turn pro," Rodriguez said. "I just wanted to play baseball again."

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