Mattingly discusses A-Rod; no signing talks yet

Mattingly discusses A-Rod; no signing talks yet

MIAMI -- Don Mattingly is a fan of Alex Rodriguez, but the Marlins' manager made it clear that the club has not discussed the possibility of signing the 41-year-old, who was released on Saturday by the Yankees.

In recent days, speculation has surfaced that once Rodriguez concluded his playing days with New York, that Miami could have interest in the 14-time All-Star with 696 career home runs.

"I like Alex. I've always liked Alex," Mattingly told reporters before Saturday night's game against the White Sox. "He's always one of those guys that played hard, never afraid of the field. Always wanted to play. Every day, you didn't have to go look for him to play. He wanted to play."

Although Rodriguez was granted his unconditional release, he does have a personal services contract to be an advisor with the Yankees in 2017.

MLB Tonight: Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez's contract with the Yankees goes through the '17 season, with the veteran infielder set to make $21 million.

If the Marlins did have interest in signing Rodriguez, first, more clarity regarding his contract with New York needs to be gained.

"Everything I've read is that A-Rod is working for the Yankees," Mattingly said. "That's what's going on. We haven't really talked about it, as far as him coming here."

Mattingly added in the National League, Rodriguez would have to play a position. He's been mostly a designated hitter this year with the Yankees.

"He hasn't played the field in a long time," Mattingly said. "I don't know where he fits right now."

Mattingly has history with Rodriguez, having previously been on the Yankees' staff. But Rodriguez has played just one inning at third base this season, and how he would respond to playing in the field is uncertain.

In 65 games with New York, Rodriguez batted .200 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs. He's appeared as the designated hitter in 57 games and as a pinch-hitter in eight, and he's played third base in one game.

If the Marlins pursue Rodriguez, it would be for him to play first base, because Justin Bour (right ankle sprain) is expected to be out until September.

"We've missed Justin a little bit over there at first," Mattingly said. "He had 15 [homers] and [46 RBIs], and he's missed going [toward] two months now. I don't think we've been able to replace that, for sure."

Rodriguez has played just 9 2/3 innings in his career (all in 2015) at first. But Mattingly added he feels Rodriguez is athletic enough to make the switch.

"I think so," the Miami manager said. "Obviously, he's played short, which tells you he's one of the best athletes in the game, in his prime. He moved over to third, almost seamlessly. There's no reason he couldn't play first. I think he has the ability to do a lot of things."

Whether the Marlins pursue Rodriguez or not, the club is exploring all options at first base.

"We've got to try to get better," Mattingly said. "I know we're always looking at ways of getting better at different areas."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.