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Escape from New York? (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday October 30, 2007 11:52AM; Updated: Tuesday October 30, 2007 2:43PM
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New York Mets

The case for: They'd love to do something to make their fans forgive and forget, and this would be it. Their dreadful collapse will be the story of the spring unless they do something to upstage it, and stealing A-Rod from the Yankees definitely would qualify. A-Rod has wanted to be a Met forever (his favorite player growing up was Keith Hernandez), and he could keep the old Park Avenue apartment. He and wife, Cynthia, have been seen perusing even swankier pads, so maybe he is thinking of a crosstown move. The Mets have a tremendous regional network in SNY that would benefit from A-Rod's drawing power, and they're a year away from moving into Citifield. Things have calmed down considerably from the days when the Mets broke off talks with A-Rod, and now the Mets and agent Scott Boras have as good a relationship as any agent and any team (they've worked together on players ranging from star Carlos Beltran to utilityman David Newhan).

The case against: To bring in A-Rod they'd have to figure out something to do with either David Wright or Jose Reyes, their two home-grown cornerstone players. Wright has magnanimously offered to move. But to where? He's a little big for second and they've already got Carlos Delgado for $16 million at first base. While the Mets have made some tremendous financial decisions in recent years, they've managed to maintain a very reasonable payroll, and it remains to be seen whether they have the stomach for such an expenditure.

Bottom line: Definitely not impossible. Odds:10-1.

Chicago Cubs

Alfonso Soriano
The Cubs would have a fearsome lineup with Alex Rodriguez hitting behind Alfonso Soriano.
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The case for: They make a lot of money and thirst for a championship after 99 years without one. A-Rod could probably see himself trying to help the Cubs win for the first time on the 100th anniversary of their last one. They also showed last winter that they were willing to spend, giving $136 million to Alfonso Soriano, who was once traded for A-Rod.

The case against: Their ownership situation is unsettled. And when it is settled it will be filled by someone not looking to rock the boat, someone who will owe a debt of gratitude to commissioner Bud Selig. It seems pretty farfetched to think that the new person -- whether it be Selig's close buddy John Canning, the heavy favorite, or someone else -- will want to start off on the wrong foot. Also, they have a third baseman, Aramis Ramirez, who's pretty good. So A-Rod would have to play shortstop.

Bottom line: It would be fun to see A-Rod try win as a Cubbie after failing as a Yankee. But they need an owner before they can do a thing. Odds: 20-1.

New York Yankees

The case for: They need a third baseman and a big right-handed bat.

The case against: Yankees people say there's no way they're going to pursue A-Rod after he opted out. At this point it would take desperation setting in -- which can't be ruled out entirely.

Bottom line: Might need The Boss to retake his throne. 25-1.

Philadelphia Phillies

The case for: The Phillies made a play for A-Rod when he was struggling in 2006. So if they liked him then they ought to really like him now that he's back to MVP form. It won't guarantee a championship but it would sure as heck give them one of the greatest infields of all-time, with A-Rod and Ryan Howard flanking Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Plus if he goes to Citizens Bank Ballpark he can speed up his timetable for the home run record by a year or so.

The case against: What they really need is steady, healthy pitching, and plenty of it.

Bottom line: Still can't quite envision A-Rod in a Phillies uniform. 30-1.

The Rest of the Field

• There were rumors that the Mariners might try to bring A-Rod back but I never got the feeling that A-Rod liked it all that much there the first time.

• The Tigers' many deals with Boras have worked wonderfully, though it's hard to imagine the financing working in Detroit.

• The Orioles are one of four teams to have their own the regional sports network (but don't have much else going for them).

• White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf loves A-Rod personally, but he's not a fan of outsized contracts.

• And in one of the longest of long shots, maybe A-Rod's hometown Marlins think they can build a stadium with a megastar in tow.

Field odds: 6-1.

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