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Braves sign Sean Rodriguez to two-year, $11.5 million contract

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The Braves signed free agent Sean Rodriguez to a two-year, $11.5 million contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Thursday afternoon. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the specific figures: Rodriguez will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus and $5 million in each of the next two seasons.

Rodriguez, 31, can play all over the diamond. Last season, he played seven of nine positions on the diamond, excluding pitcher and catcher, logging 100-plus defensive innings at first base, second base, shortstop, and right field. He hit .270/.349/.510 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 342 plate appearances.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Rodriguez figures to spell Freddie Freeman at first base and Nick Markakis in right field. Rodriguez could also play some second base along with Jace Peterson until prospect Ozzie Albies is deemed ready.

Rodriguez is the Braves’ third free agent signing of the offseason, as the club also inked R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to contracts.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.