Boston could have had Rodriguez in December for Ramirez, but after trying to restructure A-Rod's contract, it killed the deal because of a $15 million difference between what it was willing to pay Rodriguez and what the union would allow in the devaluation of A-Rod's contract. When the Red Sox heard late last week that New York was engaged in talks with Texas about Rodriguez, they made a futile attempt to get back in the hunt, according to two sources involved in the negotiations. "Too little, too late," one source said.
With the trade Texas owner Tom Hicks made the figurative admission that his business plan to build a winning team around Rodriguez was a colossal failure. A-Rod missed only one game over three years in Texas while hitting .305 with 156 home runs and 395 RBIs, but other investments, such as $65 million over five years for pitcher Chan Ho Park, bombed, and Hicks could not afford to continue pumping money into the payroll. Talk about a costly divorce: By 2025, when the last of his deferred payments is due, Hicks will have paid Rodriguez $140 million for three years of service.
After the Boston talks died, Hicks had given Rodriguez a let's-make-up bouquet: On Jan. 25 he named A-Rod captain and promised a long-term relationship. It lasted three weeks. On Feb. 8 Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, called Yankees general manager Brian Cashman about another client, free-agent first baseman Travis Lee. Cash-man mentioned how much trouble he was having trying to replace Boone. He had failed to get Adrian Beltre from the Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance. Then it hit Boras: Why not Rodriguez? A Mets fan growing up, Rodriguez had always wanted to play in New York. Boras made a joke about it to Cashman to plant the seed of an idea, then immediately called Rodriguez.
"You'd have to decide what the [shortstop] position means to you," Boras told him, "and understand what you'd be giving up for a chance to win. Think about it."
Rodriguez called Boras back the next day and said, "Let's do it."
Said Boras on Sunday, "I knew for the last three years how hard it's been on Alex to be on a losing team and to have to hear that it's because of his contract. I also knew the business plan the Rangers were talking was not what was presented to him three years ago. The situation was possibly going to get worse."
On Feb. 10 the Rangers conducted an internal conference call with Rodriguez, Boras, Hicks, G.M. John Hart and manager Buck Showalter regarding the direction of the club. Boras just happened to mention that Rodriguez might reconsider a trade to the Yankees. Hicks scoffed at the idea. "Alex isn't going to play third base," the owner said. "He's always said that."
"Alex," Boras said, "what do you think about third base?"
"I wouldn't rule it out," Rodriguez said.
Silence fell over the line. Said Boras on Sunday, "Frankly, Tom Hicks was stunned."