From the Daily News:
“It’s clear he didn’t want to be a Yankee,” Hank Steinbrenner told the Daily News last night. “He doesn’t understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field.
“I don’t want anybody on my team that doesn’t want to be a Yankee.”
The Yankees have said time and time again that they will not pursue Rodriguez as a free agent because of the money they would now no longer receive from the Rangers. Last night, Steinbrenner made it clear that his team had no intention of changing its tune on that stance.
“We’re not going to back down,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s goodbye.”
Boras cited the uncertainty over the status of pending free agents such as Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte as A-Rod’s biggest concern. As it turns out, all Rodriguez had to do was return a phone call if he wanted that information.
Steinbrenner said last night that both he and his brother, Hal, personally placed phone calls to Rodriguez expressing their desire to keep him in pinstripes, but neither call was returned by the third baseman.
“I’ll tell you this: the commitment from my family is ’78 through ’96,” Steinbrenner said of the team’s direction. “We will never go 18 years without a championship again. That’s our commitment.”
From the New York Times:
“It’s a shame,” Hank Steinbrenner, who is now running the Yankees, said late Sunday night. “But we are all in agreement: myself, my dad, my brother, all the baseball people. If you don’t want to be a Yankee and paid what you’re being paid, we don’t want you, that’s the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that point. If you don’t understand the magnitude of being a Yankee and understand what that means, and being the highest-paid player in baseball, I think it’s pretty obvious.”
“If we’re going to make you rich and we’re going to give you the privilege of being a Yankee,” he said, “you’ve got to show us you want to be here.”
“It’s a shame, because he’s an all-right guy,” Steinbrenner said. “I hope he doesn’t have outside influences that are causing him to make a mistake.”
Steinbrenner said Rodriguez had never responded to his telephone messages, but Rodriguez had been made aware of the offer the Yankees intended to make.
“They’ve been told the starting point of a negotiation, which would have been more than he’s getting paid now, and we also called him personally and left messages trying to get him to come to Tampa to meet with us.”
“Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee,” Steinbrenner said, “or a Toledo Mud Hen?”
That last quote will go down as a classic.
In his Yankees career, Alex Rodriguez averaged 43 HR and 128 RBI per season. I think the Yankees realized that production had value and they wanted to try and retain that value without getting into a bidding war over it. But, A-Rod and Boras have other plans.
I believe that Alex’s spurning of the Yankees offer to talk, combined with the calculated timing of his announcement to opt out, have cemented the Yankees stance on not being willing to talk contract with A-Rod, post-opt-out.
Yes, folks, the Alex Rodriguez Era in Yankees history is now over. It was two MVP years in four seasons mixed in with drama, here and there, and some noteworthy personal post-season failures – although it’s very debatable if the latter had any impact on the team’s recent October misfortunes (as A-Rod didn’t pitch for the Yankees).
It will be interesting to see if the Yankees players have the same reaction, now, as the Texas Rangers players had when Alex left that team (to join New York).