You're Ivan Rodriguez, and you've just come off a postseason where is seemed no one could get you out. Everytime your team needed a big hit, you were there to deliver it. You were voted the MVP of the National League Championship Series. What's your reward? You're going to play in Detroit in 2004, for a team that lost 119 games last year. Congrats!
The Tigers are paying $40 million for four years, with some options and buyouts included. The question for me here isn't whether or not that's overpaying, but why Rodriguez would take such a deal in a place like Detroit.
Maybe I'm suffering from a surfeit of idealism, but I would like to think that if I was a professional athlete, I would make choices based on competition and not finance. Sure, Detroit offered him the most money, but at what cost? What's more important: getting your $10 mil a year, or having any shot at winning?
I don't say this to castigate Rodriguez, but just to wonder about the decision process these guys go through.