Great article in the Journal News by Peter Abraham about how and why Alex Rodriguez will not be leaving the New York Yankees now or anytime soon. Thereâ€™s been a lot of A-Rod talk lately- will he re-negotiate with the Yankees? Will be opt out of his contract and be a free agent after the season? Will he get a $30 million per year deal?
The answer to all that nonsense, as Abraham details, is that A-Rod ainâ€™t goinâ€™ nowhere. Money talks, and no team on the open market can feasibly offer A-Rod more of it than the Yankees, thanks to their gigantic revenue streams and Tom Hicksâ€™ generous $67 million subsidy.
Letâ€™s be honest for a second here. A-Rod might be stressed by the New York scrutiny, intrigued by returning to shortstop and willing to start anew in a different city but Scott Boras isnâ€™t using the phrase â€œ$30 million a yearâ€ to describe happiness. With A-Rod and Boras, itâ€™s all about one thing: money. This isnâ€™t Mark Buehrle or Paul Konerko weâ€™re talking about here, content to offer a hometown discount to ensure peace of mind and loyalty. This is the loathed Scott Boras, bandying about crazy figures to not only break the bank but crush it into more pieces than a jigsaw puzzle.
See, Boras doesnâ€™t get to take home 5 percent of his clientâ€™s happiness after signing a contract. He doesnâ€™t get to take home 5 percent of his clientâ€™s satisfaction from moving back to shortstop. He takes home 5 percent of the money. That is the only motivator. Believe anything else and youâ€™ve been duped. (I donâ€™t mean to sound so jaded here; guys like Konerko and Buehrle are the epitome of class and I am glad their Sox are White.) So ultimately Boras will simply guide A-Rod to the site of the richest deal.
I still think A-Rod and the Sox would be a good match, and Ken Williamsâ€™ lingering interest would surely resurface if A-Rod hit the open market. (Realistically heâ€™d only be available to a handful of teamsâ€”probably the Red Sox, Angels, Mets, Cubs and White Sox, plus a darkhorse here or there.)
But if Boras and A-Rod are going to go with the highest salary, itâ€™s gotta be the Yankees. Even the most foolish owner wouldnâ€™t sign off on paying one player $30 million annually, about 30% of the teamâ€™s entire payroll! Under the current arrangement, Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers will pay $21 of A-Rodâ€™s salary over the remaining three seasons, plus $24 million in deferred money. Thus, to meet A-Rodâ€™s demands, the Yankees, who have more spending allowance than everyone else to begin with, would have to put up less of their own money than any other team. (The Hicks arrangement would disappear if the contract is torn up, and a new team would have to pay the entire salary.)
The only wildcard would be if the Yankees traded A-Rod, keeping the Hicks arrangement alive, and the new team immediately tacked value on to the contract to satisfy A-Rod and Boras. How about this: the Sox trade Jon Garland, Josh Fields and Lance Broadway for A-Rod and the Hick money. Then the Sox add another few years to the contract, or tack on a few million dollars annually for the three remaining years. Under that scenario, the Sox would be on the hook for $41 million over 3 years, plus whatever value they add to the deal.
That is very reasonable, money-wise. Itâ€™s a move that might make sense for the Sox, but would probably never even be considered from the Yankees standpointâ€”why would they trade away a slugger in the middle of a historic season over a few millions?
So in the end this isnâ€™t going to come down to A-Rodâ€™s comfort level, his desire to play shortstop, or even winning. The only way A-Rod will opt out of his contract, barring some disaster in New York, is if another team could pay him more money than heâ€™s slated to make on his current contract, and that is not practical. Ultimately, A-Rod will resign with the Yankees for the same reason he signed with lowly Texas in the first place: no other place could offer more money.