Rodriguez finalizes $275M deal with Yankees
NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez set another record for baseball’s highest contract, finalizing his $275 million, 10-year agreement with the New York Yankees on Thursday.A-Rod set the previous mark with his $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas in December 2000. Traded to the Yankees in 2004, he opted out of that contract Oct. 28, during the final game of the World Series.Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said New York would not negotiate further with Rodriguez because his decision eliminated the $21.3 million subsidy the Yankees were to receive from Texas from 2008-10, a figure negotiated at the time of the trade.But Rodriguez then approached the Yankees through a managing director at Goldman Sachs and negotiated his new deal in early November without agent Scott Boras.”It seemed like the whole thing was a roller-coaster. It was very emotional,” Rodriguez said on a conference call. “All along, I knew I wanted to be a Yankee.”The three-time MVP said opting out was “a mistake that was handled extremely poorly.””It was a huge debacle,” he said, calling the timing “distasteful and very inappropriate.”Officials in the commissioner’s office were livid, and Boras quickly apologized. A-Rod said he told Boras how he felt.”The one time we spoke, I conveyed that message,” he said.Rodriguez said Boras gave him the impression the Yankees weren’t interested in bringing him back, which surprised him.”Our goals were not aligned,” Rodriguez said. “It felt funny to me.”Rodriguez said he thought the move would be revealed after the World Series. He said Boras still represents him – the two have known each other for 16 years – but with a 10-year deal already in place, their player-agent relationship is “all academic.””I made mistakes. I’ve got to look in the mirror. If I had to do it again, I would’ve called Hank from Day 1 and negotiated myself,” Rodriguez said.Soon, he did get in touch with Steinbrenner.”If he hung up on me, I wouldn’t have been surprised. I thought my career was over with the Yankees,” Rodriguez said. “Somewhere along the way, we took two or three left turns.”He said once he contacted Steinbrenner and his brother Hal, an executive vice president with the Yankees, it didn’t take long to reach an agreement.”Within two conversations we got a deal done,” Rodriguez recalled.His new contract allows A-Rod to earn $30 million more for achieving historic milestones. He is 18th on the career list with 518 homers, 244 shy of Barry Bonds’ record.The deal was announced three hours before George Mitchell’s report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball was to be released. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo prefaced Rodriguez’s conference call by saying it would be inappropriate for any member of the Yankees to comment on the Mitchell Report until it was released.Near the end of the call, however, Rodriguez offered this: “What’s going on right now is very unfortunate. I think our game is going to rebound.”The 32-year-old Rodriguez won his third AL Most Valuable Player award last month after hitting .314 with 54 homers and 156 RBIs. But he’s frequently been a target for boo birds at Yankee Stadium – due in large part to his postseason struggles.A-Rod went 4-for-15 (.267) with one RBI during New York’s first-round playoff loss to Cleveland and is in an 8-for-59 (.136) postseason funk dating to 2004. Even worse has been his postseason hitting in the clutch. He is hitless in his past 18 playoff at-bats with runners in scoring position.”I have a lot to prove in New York,” said Rodriguez, who has never reached the World Series. “I think the criticism is what comes with being in New York.”An 11-time All-Star, A-Rod gets a $10 million signing bonus, of which $2 million is payable upon approval by the commissioner’s office, $1 million each Jan. 15 from 2009-13 and $3 million on Jan. 15, 2014.Rodriguez receives salaries of $27 million next year, $32 million in 2009 and 2010, $31 million in 2011, $29 million in 2012, $28 million in 2013, $25 million in 2014, $21 million in 2015 and $20 million in each of the final two years.His $32 million salaries in 2009 and 2010 will be the largest for one season in major league history.Rodriguez could receive an additional $6 million each for five milestones that the team designates as historic achievements. They are contemplated to be tying the home run marks of Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds, and breaking Bonds’ major league record.Under the deal he opted out of, A-Rod earned $185.45 million over seven years.—AP Baseball Writers Ben Walker and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
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