Yankees won't bid on A-Rod
Rodriguez as good as gone if he opts out of contract
Posted: Wednesday March 21, 2007 10:45AM; Updated: Wednesday March 21, 2007 1:50PM
Also in this column:
Alex Rodriguez will attract interest from at least a handful of teams if he opts out of his $252 million contract at the end of the season, with the Angels perhaps first in line. But Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made clear in an interview on Tuesday that Rodriguez's current team will not chase A-Rod and will not be part of any bidding war.
"He has a significant contract as it is," Cashman told SI.com. "So I don't anticipate any dialogue regarding an extension."
In other words, Cashman is leaving the ball in A-Rod's court. If Rodriguez wants to remain a Yankee and keep the $81 million and three years remaining on his contract, he can do that. But if he wants to forego that $81 million to seek even greater riches, that's his choice, too. He just won't be getting those extra riches in pinstripes -- at least not this winter.
"I hope he stays," Cashman says. "He knows how I feel about him."
Cashman is a proven A-Rod fan, one of the main powers behind the megatrade that moved Rodriguez east from Texas. But Cashman has shown since taking over full GM powers in recent months that he is fully cognizant of the bottom line, and that means dollars and cents as well as wins and losses. He traded away Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson (though those are two players he appeared far less enamored of than A-Rod), and the only megabucks deals he signed off on this winter were for Andy Pettitte (one-year, $16 million with a player option for 2008) and Kei Igawa (five years, $20 million, with a $26 million posting fee).
Cashman likes Rodriguez enough that it's believed he'd consider an extension at some point, but not an extension merely to prevent A-Rod from opting out of his current deal. "That's smart," one competing GM says. "This way all the pressure's on A-Rod, and there's no blood on [Cashman's] hands."
With plenty of teams likely to line up, including the Angels (the favorite for Rodriguez can offer a contending team, a stadium where he hits big, the American League and probably even a chance to switch back to shortstop), no one should be surprised if A-Rod does opt out. And no one should blame him if he does, though plenty will.
There's nothing wrong with exercising an option that was bargained for in good faith. J.D. Drew opted out of the $33 million that remained on his Dodgers deal, and more than doubled it, to $70 million, with Boston. And Aramis Ramirez more than tripled his pay, from $22 million to $75 million, when the Cubs made the opposite call and decided to re-sign him after he opted out of his deal.
Some Yankees fans might applaud A-Rod's departure, but his loss would sting since they'd also lose the $29 million Rangers owner Tom Hicks has to contribute toward A-Rod's contract through 2010, so long as he remains a Yankee. And perhaps even worse for Yankees fans, there isn't much right-handed power available, except Andruw Jones, who'll have plenty of suitors. As for right-handed power, not counting free-agent switch-hitter Jorge Posada, the Yankees will be down to Derek Jeter if A-Rod leaves.
Some will criticize Cashman if A-Rod walks away after at least eight teams called last year to inquire about acquiring the superstar in trade, including both Chicago teams and both L.A. teams. However, it wasn't really Cashman's call to keep him then; A-Rod made it clear to Cashman last summer that he wouldn't consent to a trade -- and as long as the Yankees are in the race, he still won't.
That was all A-Rod's call last summer. And once again, it will be his call again this winter.
1 of 2