|Alex Rodriguez's agent hints A-Rod likely to opt out of contract and become free agent|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 09 October 2007 17:09|
Agent Scott Boras hinted Tuesday that A-Rod will opt out of the final three seasons of his contract with the New York Yankees and seek a new deal in the free-agent market that will lock him up through his pursuit of Barry Bonds' home-run record.
Boras negotiated Rodriguez's record $252 million, 10-year agreement with the Texas Rangers before the 2001 season, a contract the Yankees took over when they acquired A-Rod before the 2004 season. His next deal could last for more than a decade.
``Alex wants to be in one uniform for a long, long time, if not to the end of his career,'' Boras said of the 32-year-old, headed to his third AL MVP Award. ``I think Alex could play very reasonably until he's 45. So you're talking about a situation where we want this guy to be identified with one franchise and one uniform for a very, very long time.''
Rodriguez enters next year 17th on the career home-run list with 518 and is 242 behind Bonds, who also hopes to play next season. The expected chase will be factored into the negotiation.
``That team is going to be associated with having a player in its organization that has this history, this value,'' Boras said, ``and they're going to be able to market that and go through the varying chases and levels of passing players in his home run pursuits.''
In describing how Rodriguez would benefit from free agency, Boras cited the increase in baseball revenue from $3 billion in 2000 to nearly $6 billion this year.
``The marketplace for negotiating contracts has changed so dramatically from when we negotiated in 2000 to where we negotiate in 2007,'' Boras said.
New York likely will approach Boras with an extension offer in the next few weeks - Rodriguez must make his decision whether to opt out by the 10th day after the World Series ends.
Rodriguez must weigh that offer against what he could get as a free agent, keeping in mind that the market for a player in the $30 million-a-year-range is limited.
``He could opt out tomorrow if he wanted to, but I haven't discussed that with him,'' Boras said. ``All those decisions will be made when we sit down and talk.''
The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels are viewed as possible destinations, although their payrolls are dwarfed by that of the Yankees.
Rodriguez is guaranteed $24 million annually by New York in each of the next three seasons. But part of that would be offset by $21,304,500 the Rangers still owe New York as part of the trade. In addition, Rodriguez is due $3 million each year by the Rangers, money that is deferred a 2 percent annual interest rate and scheduled to be paid from 2016-25.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that if Rodriguez opts out - and the Yankees lose that $21 million subsidy - the team would cut off negotiations.
``That would be my position, yes, that would be my very strong recommendation,'' he said. ``There is a date and if you can make a deal before that date, fine. After that date, it becomes a much different economic animal. It makes less sense.''
When Rodriguez arrived at spring training, he was coy when asked about his contract.
``I understand I have an option, but I also understand that I want to be a New York Yankee,'' he said, going on to add: ``My goal is to go in with Derek and Mo and open the new stadium.''
Closer Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada can become free agents after the World Series. Pitcher Andy Pettitte has a $16 million player option.
Rodriguez had a regular season that likely will earn him a third AL MVP award, leading the major leagues with 54 homers and 156 RBIs. But he went 4-for-15 (.267) with one RBI against Cleveland and is in an 8-for-59 (.136) postseason funk dating to 2004. He is hitless in his past 18 playoff at-bats with runners in scoring position.
New York would have to replace A-Rod's regular-season offense if he leaves.
``A lot of it depends on whether he comes back here,'' said first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, A-Rod's former high school teammate and offseason workout partner. ``That's like a domino effect. It's a big piece of the puzzle.''