• A-Rod Opts Out Of Yankees Contract

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (28)

    Looks like Jon Heyman is breaking the story –

    Alex Rodriguez notified the Yankees on Sunday that he’s opting out of his record $252 million contract, SI.com has learned.

    Rodriguez’s decision means he will become a free agent and be able to negotiate with all clubs. Rodriguez’s bombshell move will shake up the entire winter for the Yankees — who had hoped to retain him with a big extension — as well as other big-market clubs that will now pursue him.

    Rodriguez’s agent Scott Boras said he sent word of the opt-out in writing Sunday and left phone and text messages for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees have said that once A-Rod opts out, they wil not pursue him, since they will lose the benefit of the Texas Rangers’ $30-million subsidy.

    “Alex made the decision today,” Boras said. “I thought we should notify the club.”

    The Yankees were preparing an extension to his current contract for either five or six years, believed to be for close to $30 million annually. However, team officials said Boras has politely declined to meet with them in recent days, and they never presented the offer.

    Peter Abraham’s reaction to this news just about nails it:

    Given that Rodriguez made his decision without first negotiating with the Yankees, it appears he never had any intention of staying in New York.

    That just mirrors what I suggested yesterday.

    Needless to say, it’s going to be an interesting day in Yankeeland come Monday morning. If Cashman and Hank Stein are going to stick to their claims, this means that Alex Rodriguez’ Yankees career is over.

    This is starting to remind me of when Roger Clemens “un-retired” after the 2003 World Series and then Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays fans told Yankees fans “See, we told you about the guy.”

    I suspect, now, when it comes to A-Rod, that some of us Yankees fans can expect to hear “See, we told you about the guy” from Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers fans pretty soon too.

    Comments on A-Rod Opts Out Of Yankees Contract

    1. MJ
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:11 pm

      It could explain why he didn’t show up in Denver to accept his Hank Aaron Award. He probably figured that the news might leak out and he wants to duck the press as much as possible over the next few days.

      I really like A-Rod and I’m very, very sorry to hear that he won’t be on the team next year. I wonder how much contact Boras has had with other teams. Unless he absolutely knows that teams will pay more than the reported offer the Yanks were going to make, how could he let A-Rod take this risk? I guess tampering is probably what happened although it’s incredibly hard to prove.

      Oh well, all the haters might say they’re happy but the truth is that every Yankee fan will miss A-Rod. Some of us will miss his incredible talent and how much he meant to the Yanks and others will simply miss having the easy scapegoat to blame everything on. For those that miss Aaron Boone/Scott Brosius, I hope you enjoy the Wilson Betemit/Mike Lowell era that appears upon us. Yuck.

    2. Harry
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:12 pm

      Good riddance. With a better rotation, a [hopefully] improved bullpen, and some production from first base next year, the Yanks will more than compensate for the loss of A-rod. Not to mention the Ewing theory potential here.

    3. MJ
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:17 pm

      I love it when people talk about the “Ewing Theory.” It’s the single-dumbest thing to ever be concocted by Bill Simmons. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about basketball knows that the Knicks were NEVER, EVER better off without Patrick Ewing.

      This is a baseball blog so I won’t go so far off-topic to disprove the stupidity of the Ewing Theory. But, suffice it to say, anyone that thinks the Yanks are better off without A-Rod obviously didn’t watch much baseball in 2007. He was the best player in baseball and was the single-biggest reason why Chien-Ming Wang even had an opportunity to shit the bed in October.

      But, Harry, now that we have you on the subject, by all means tell us how the Yanks can improve their rotation in 2008. All the money they’d be giving to A-Rod can now go to Joel Piniero, Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva? Perfect.

    4. Harry
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:31 pm

      I think the potential of rotation with Wang, Pettite, Chamberlain, Hughes, and Kennedy is tremendous. This also frees up some money to go after Santana next year.

      As for the Ewing Theory, the elements are the following:

      1. A star athlete receives an inordinate amount of media attention and fan interest, and yet his teams never win anything substantial with him (other than maybe some early-round playoff series).

      2. That same athlete leaves his team (either by injury, trade, graduation, free agency or retirement) — and both the media and fans immediately write off the team for the following season.

      There has been ample evidence supporting this theory in the past. You can read about them here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1193711

      Although I’m sure there have probably been just as many cases in which losing a star player meeting the above characteristics has resulted in a poor season for the team, I still believe that losing such a player truly can help.

      I’m not suggesting that A-Rod won’t go down as one of the greatest players of all time. All I’m saying is that the Yanks still have a good chance of being just as good as they were this year in 2008.

    5. gaulen01
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:33 pm

      Is there any doubt some team is tampering here? I mean, who opts out with the richest franchise in baseball with ten days left? Only thing I can think of is Boras knows what’s on the table and is giving A-Rod as much time as needed to sort out his offers. Either that or Baby Alex cried for Daddy Boras to get him out of NY as quickly as possible.

      Don’t worry! The yankees WILL NOT let this offseason pass without making a HUGE move now to counter this. And we don’t have to hear about the off the field stuff ever again!

    6. MJ
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:44 pm

      Harry: I’m quite familiar with the Ewing Theory as I’ve been reading Simmons since back when he was writing on his AOL blog. I could argue all day about why the theory is preposterous and inappopriately named. But that’s neither here nor there.

      As for Santana, why would it make sense to pay what it would take to get Santana as a free agent? $20M/year for 7-8 years for a pitcher who will be 38 at the end of the contract? Seems like the same types of mistakes the Yanks have made in the past, albeit with a far higher caliber of pitcher. Even still, it’s hardly prudent to invest $160M in a pitcher. Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown, Barry Zito and Carlos Zambrano will all prove that point over and over.

      Gaulen01: “The yankees WILL NOT let this offseason pass without making a HUGE move now to counter this.”

      That’s EXACTLY what I’m worried about. I don’t want them to make a huge move to counter this because the free agent market is so devoid of talent right now. The pitchers are #5-caliber level (Lohse, Silva, Piniero) and the hitters (Hunter, Rowand, Andruw Jones) really do nothing for the Yanks given the overcrowding of their outfield.

      I don’t want Hank and Hal to internalize the beating they took with the Torre situation AND A-Rod’s departure by reacting to this. Honestly, if the Yanks suck in 2008 I would be sad but accepting of it. Why force the issue in 2008 and throw money at trying to be a 90 win team?

    7. brockdc
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:50 pm

      A-rod will win the MVP this year because he put up monster stats on a winning team. But anyone who paid attention this season witnessed an individual who matured on multiple levels – most conspicuously as a legitamate team leader. Combine his prodigious skills and emerging leadership with a work ethic that is virtually unparalelled and you have a player that is simply irreplacable.

      Damn you, A-rod (and *&^% you, Boras).

    8. Zack
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:53 pm

      You are crazy if you think the Yankees can “make up” for A-Rod’s production. You simply can’t. You can try to patch it together at a few different positions, but you are already talking about a weaker offense because a few guys matching A-rod is worse than A-rod and a few guys. This team has NO right handed power, and to be honest, no real power at all.

      But A-Rod is a complete fool for letting Boras con him into this. He blew his chance at saving his PR image…

    9. gaulen01
      October 28th, 2007 | 11:54 pm

      I hear ya, MJ, but if they’re supposedly trusting Cashman to hire the manager (Girardi?) then he’s the one making the decisions, I don’t think he’d make a totally knee-jerk reaction.

      I would think they’ll do something in the trade market. What? I don’t know. Maybe they somehow trade for Miguel Cabrera and a treadmill. Then I’d feel better!

    10. brockdc
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:00 am

      M.J.’s right here. Even if the Yanks were to make an aggressive move for Santana, you’re still in the unenviable position of robbing Peter to pay Paul. SG over at Replacement Level broke down the marginal wins that Santana would yield vis a vis Wang, IPK, and Melky, and, at the end of the day, it’s essentially a wash.

      Still, I wouldn’t mind them going after Santana after 08, when he becomes a free agent. All they’ve got to lose at that point is cash and a #1 draft pick.

      The long term solution is clear: Develop your own talent through the draft and international scouting.

    11. MJ
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:00 am

      Brock: I really agree with you. It’s honestly a shame that we find ourselves in this scenario.

      Is it worth paying what it will take to keep Posada/Rivera? Could an argument not be made that the Yanks would be better served by sitting on that cash instead of investing it in aging players?

      Gaulen: Since we all know that no one is entering into any trades with the Yanks without getting at least some of the Phil/Joba/Kennedy puzzle-pieces, I see no purpose in trying to trade for someone like Miguel Cabrera. Plus, do the Yanks need a young player that is so grossly incapable of keeping himself in playing shape? He’s a gifted hitter but a fat piece of shit. Players like that — Andruw Jones and Manny Ramirez come to mind — are guys that have so much talent that they skate by on 75% of it and never truly maximize their true potential. Certainly it’s incredible that these guys can do so much without being totally committed to the responsibility of keeping in shape but I don’t want a player like that on my team.

    12. gaulen01
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:13 am

      Okay, I hear you guys, and I’m not saying that this is a positive development. But long term, and I mean beyond next season and maybe the season after, does anyone really want to have a player that’s 34 and 35 years old making $30 million? I know we’re talking the Yankees, but that’s 15% of their current payroll. The chances of ARod producing at this level for more than a couple more years is pretty slim. I know he’s exceptional, but let someone else take the risk of paying Arod $30 million when he’s 39 years old and playing first base. I’m not saying it will or won’t work out, but would anyone here be truly comfortable with the Yankees devoting that kind of money and those years?

    13. JeremyM
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:47 am

      I have to agree, he had no intention of staying in New York. If that’s the case, it sucks and I’m disappointed that he doesn’t want to be a Yankee, but good riddance. It’ll be mind blowing to see if a team actually offers more than what the Yankees supposedly were preparing to offer. Frankly, I’d like to see him get offered less, but it won’t happen, he’ll get his money just like JD Drew got his.

    14. jonm
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:52 am

      The Yankees lose around 5 wins next year, but, in a way, everything gets more interesting now for us, doesn’t it? No A-Rod watch. A chance to tinker in interesting ways for us to talk about this off-season. And when the Yankees make it to the post-season next year or, more likely 2009, no more “Will A-Rod choke stories?” In fact, no more tortured, tedious A-Rod stories at all.

      People in the NY sports media are really the people who should be shedding tears tonight. They might actually have to do some work on occasion.

    15. JeremyM
      October 29th, 2007 | 1:03 am

      This really bugged me, and yeah, I’m probably reading too much into things: “Alex’s decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured pitchers was going to do,” Boras said. “He really didn’t want to make any decisions until he knew what they were going.”

      HIS closer, HIS catcher, HIS statured pitcher.


    16. #15
      October 29th, 2007 | 7:04 am

      Let’s face facts here….A-Rod wanted out from under the NYC media microscope. It’s really the only explanation that makes sense when you consider that he didn’t even want to listen to the Yankees’ offer. For Boras it’s about the money. In this case, A-Rod put getting out of NY above the money. He knows he’ll still get a huge contract, but to blow off the Yankees without even letting them get their offer on the table clearly indicates he wanted out. All the other stuff about the team in transition is just so much noise. I’ll bet Boras wanted to listen to the Yankees offer. Then, through his back channels, have something to compare it against. But, once A-Rod told Boras he wanted out, there was no need to linger and give the Yankees 10 days which could otherwise be used to hammer out the best deal at his new employer. Not a good thing for the Yankees to loss a player with his tools. A-Rod missed a chance at baseball immortality with the Yankees, something he’ll never get at the same level playing for the Cubs, Dodgers, etc…. He’ll still be a HOF’er, still likely chase Bonds’ HR number, still be recognized as one of the greats, but he’ll never be a Babe Ruth-like figure….and, ultimately, he didn’t want to be one.

    17. MJ
      October 29th, 2007 | 8:51 am

      A-Rod missed a chance at baseball immortality with the Yankees, something he’ll never get at the same level playing for the Cubs, Dodgers, etc…
      We Yankee fans tell ourselves that but we’re too full of ourselves to accept the truth. There are – GASP – tons of great immortals in the game that never played in the Bronx. Ernie Banks, Jackie Robinson (I think the guy’s got an award named after him), Cy Young (I think he does too). A-Rod will be an immortal, he’ll just be one someplace else.

      It sucks and I’m sad about it but that’s just how it is.

    18. rbj
      October 29th, 2007 | 8:56 am

      Well Steve, you got your wish that Alex isn’t a Yankee. The team has the bucks to pay him, so don’t tell me that they’re saving a lot to invest in other players — now they need to fill 1B & 3B. 2 MVPs in 3 years is going to be real hard to fill. Thanks for the production Alex, and good luck with your career.

      Personally, I think A-Rod is totally under the influence of Boras and wouldn’t be surprised if there was some tampering going on, in which case I’d like to see a one year suspension, a suspension of Boras and the owner of team he winds up with.

    19. MJ
      October 29th, 2007 | 8:59 am

      Personally, I think A-Rod is totally under the influence of Boras and wouldn’t be surprised if there was some tampering going on, in which case I’d like to see a one year suspension, a suspension of Boras and the owner of team he winds up with.
      Although that would be easier for me to accept, there would be no logic in Boras manipulating A-Rod out of his contract without so much as listening to the Yanks’ best offer. A-Rod has to accept responsibility here and I think we all got the message loud and clear that he’d rather take another team’s salary, even if it would represent a little bit less than what he could’ve gotten out of the Steinbrenners. As much as I dislike Boras, I really think A-Rod just told Boras to end the facade last night and open the door to other teams so he could move on.

    20. rbj
      October 29th, 2007 | 9:05 am

      The thing is MJ, A-Rod seemed more at peace this year with NY (the city) so I’m not sure he wants to go to a quieter place. What if he goes to the Mets — that isn’t leaving the bright lights of NY. And even Chicago or Boston is going to have a big spotlight on him.

    21. MJ
      October 29th, 2007 | 9:24 am

      But, RBJ, as Steve said, maybe the whole “at peace” thing was because he knew all along that he was leaving the Yanks and thus he was able to free his mind of all that came along with it.

    22. JeremyM
      October 29th, 2007 | 9:31 am

      Well, it was pretty obvious that there was tampering going on with JD Drew, and baseball didn’t care, probably because it was JD Drew and also because it was the Red Sox. I find it hard to believe that A-Rod is going to get a better deal than the Yanks allegedly offered, unless someone has already made it. I know people think Boras understands the market better than anyone, but he was way off on the demand for Johnny Damon two years ago.

      Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe teams are lining up to offer A-Rod his $400 million deal taking him through age 45 or whatever. I never thought Soriano would get his deal either.

      And Steve, I owe you an apology, you were right about this guy and I was wrong! Opting out is one thing, but the fact that he did it during the Series while throwing the team under the bus is incredible.

    23. rbj
      October 29th, 2007 | 9:39 am

      But MJ, he won the MVP in 2005 too, so he can play at the highest level despite all the distractions. I still view this as Boras manipulating A-Rod (who probably is susceptible to being manipulated.)

    24. October 29th, 2007 | 9:51 am

      ~~~And Steve, I owe you an apology, you were right about this guy and I was wrong! Opting out is one thing, but the fact that he did it during the Series while throwing the team under the bus is incredible.~~~

      No need to apologize to me. Everyone has a right to have an opinion and to change their mind on it later – or not. I’m not judging anyone for having an opinion, believing in it, and then changing it, or not, later.

    25. October 29th, 2007 | 9:53 am

      ~~~I think A-Rod is totally under the influence of Boras and wouldn’t be surprised if there was some tampering going on,~~~

      Of course, and, of course.

      Boras is his advisor and there’s no way they opt out unless Boras knows for a fact that there’s more money somewhere else.

      But, baseball will do nothing on it – they did nothing when the Sox signed JD Drew – and that’s the same deal as this one.

    26. rbj
      October 29th, 2007 | 9:58 am

      ~~~But, baseball will do nothing on it – they did nothing when the Sox signed JD Drew – and that’s the same deal as this one.~~~

      As long as A-Rod goes to Bud’s best buddy John Henry’s Red Sox.

    27. Pete
      October 29th, 2007 | 12:48 pm

      Then how do you explain A-Rod not going to Boston in the ’03-’04 offseason?

    28. October 29th, 2007 | 1:11 pm

      If not for the MLBPA, that deal would have happened.

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