The recent talk about the opt-out clause in Alex Rodriguez’s contract prompted a theory on why the clause was put in the contract.
As rich as the contract is, a record $252 million over all and salaries of $27 million in each of the final three years, there is no need for Rodriguez to walk away from the contract after its seventh season for economic reasons. But had Rodriguez stayed with Texas for the first seven years, the opt-out clause might have served as a way for him to go where he really wanted to go six years ago.
The Mets were Rodriguez’s first love, but Steve Phillips, then the Mets’ general manager, shattered that desire by recoiling at the initial asking price uttered by Scott Boras, Rodriguez’s agent, and running as fast as he could in the opposite direction.
By having the opt-out clause, Rodriguez, now 31, preserved his ability to go to the Mets while he was still young enough to make a difference and to give the Mets a chance to make up for the mistake they made in December 2000.
I’m not buying it.
To me, it’s simple: In September 2000, Major League Baseball signed a six year, $2.5 billion, contract with FOX to carry baseball. This meant that there would be a new TV-contract for baseball in 2007. A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, knew this as well as anyone. A-Rod’s agent also knew that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) would come into play in 2007.
Boras probably figured that there would be “new” money to be found in baseball starting in 2007 when the next television contract and CBA kicked in – and he wanted Rodriguez to be able to tap into that “new” money (should the dough be there as Boras expected).
The opt-out clause has nothing to do with some desire to go play for the Mets. It’s all about having leverage at a time where it’s best for you – a Boras specialty.