Last Friday, Rodriguez flew by private jet to Las Vegas and checked into a hotel under the name of Pat Riley. He would spend the weekend playing golf with old high school buddies. On the way to Vegas the jet had stopped in Dallas to drop off Boras at the winter meetings, where he hoped to get the deal done.
Boras kept his ear to the ground for rumblings that the Dodgers or the Mets would enter the picture, but that didn't happen. He did schedule a Sunday-night meeting with the Mets' Phillips to settle what he called "an apparent huge miscommunication" between the two of them—and if that was entr�e for the Mets to jump back in, fine—but that meeting had to be postponed because of the gathering momentum of the Rangers' efforts to close the deal.
The White Sox remained active, but on Saturday owner Jerry Reinsdorf told his first-year general manager, Kenny Williams, that he wanted to meet Rodriguez in private. The days for those meetings were long over, Boras said. Chicago was done. As for Atlanta, Boras made it clear that the Braves could not count on their reputation alone to get Rodriguez. "The Braves know they'd better get their running shoes out of the closet," Boras said last Saturday. "The race is on."
Atlanta never laced up. It refused to consider a no-trade clause, and that was a deal breaker. "In the last weekend it was Texas 1, Seattle 2 and Atlanta 3 in my mind," Rodriguez said on Monday. " Texas really won it, but the Mariners made it a lot easier by the way they treated me."
Word spread through the Anatole Hotel on Sunday night that the Rangers had offered about $240 million. One Seattle source, when told of that, said, "No way. That's ridiculous. We're still in it. If that were true, he'd be signed."
Of course, it was that much and more. The Mariners offered Rodriguez only a five-year contract for about $92 million. At 6 p.m. in Dallas on Sunday, Boras called Rodriguez in Las Vegas. "Alex, Texas can get this thing done," Boras said. "What would you like to do."
"Go ahead and get it done," Rodriguez said.
A few hours later, just as Rodriguez was leaving for a Las Vegas show, Boras called back to tell him the framework of a deal was in place. He would be a Ranger. Rodriguez enjoyed the show, flew home to Miami and played golf the next afternoon.
On Monday morning Boras sat slumped in a chair in room 2289 at the Anatole. He had gone to bed at 3 a.m. but couldn't sleep, still wired from the deal. He had slept maybe nine hours all weekend and had skipped several meals.
"Whenever a client changes teams, you worry because you're leaving a known situation," he said. "I have some of those thoughts right now, as I did with Maddux in 1992. But today I feel like the world only now will get to know Alex. Bigger and better things are out there for him. He's already a star, but this puts him on a whole different level. Today is only the beginning for Alex."