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Ex-Spartan signs pact with Detroit

Mike Rabelo, a fourth-round pick, will report to the Tigers' short-season Class A team Saturday.

By JOHN C. COTEY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 22, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Former University of Tampa standout Mike Rabelo has signed with the Detroit Tigers, his father said Thursday.

Rabelo was unavailable for comment, but his father, Greg, said the Tigers and family adviser Paul Fernandez reached a deal Wednesday.

The Rabelos rejected the Tigers' first offer and countered with their own offer late last week.

"They called back and straightened it out with (Mike's) agent, and he signed," Greg Rabelo said.

Rabelo, Detroit's fourth-round draft pick, will report to Oneonta, the Tigers' short-season Class A team in New York on Saturday.

Figures weren't released, but the Rabelos were seeking "fair money," believed to be anywhere from $250,000 to $350,000, approximately the average contract for fourth-rounders last year adjusted for inflation.

Rabelo becomes the first Ridgewood player to sign a professional contract since Dave Doorneweerd in 1991 and the fourth overall (joining Doorneweerd, Kevin McGuire and Joe Bertucci).

The former Ridgewood standout and 1998 North Suncoast Player of the Year was a pitcher in high school.

He set a slew of school records before switching to catcher at the University of Tampa.

A ninth-round pick by Boston out of high school, Rabelo could not agree to terms with the Red Sox and instead became a star with the Spartans and, arguably, the best catcher in college baseball.

Rabelo hit .371 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI this season and helped lead Tampa to the Division II College World Series.

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