The news that Alex Rodriguez opted out of his 10 year, $252 million contract should come as no surprise. The timing of the announcement, during the eighth inning of Game Four of the World Series, should also come as no surprise.
We should know by now that Rodriguez is only a mercenary and that Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, only cares about himself and nothing for the grander good of the game of baseball.
Rodriguez, who has long cited a personal desire to win a World Series championship sometime during his career, signed his mega-deal before the 2001 season. He left the Seattle Mariners in search of a team that could help him reach the promised land.
His move took him from a team that won the American League Wild Card and 91 games in 2000 to the Texas Rangers, a franchise coming off a season in which they lost 91 games and finished a whopping 20.5 games out of first place. That was definitely a step toward the money, not a step in the right direction.
After three losing seasons in Texas, Rodriguez forced the Rangers hand to trade him. And the only teams that could take him were the bigger market clubs that could afford his contract but were reluctant to dole it out during the free agent bidding process. These were the clubs that afforded him the best chance of winning a World Series, not the Rangers. In other words, Rodriguez had his cake and ate it, too.
And we all know that Rodriguez hasn’t won a World Series since becoming a member of the New York Yankees. He hasn’t even appeared in one.
All he has done, in fact, is hurt his stature as one of the best players in the history of baseball. Rodriguez has hit only .279 in 147 postseason at bats. If you project his home run and runs batted in totals from the postseason over 162 games, he would have 29 home runs and 70 RBIs. Those come no where near his 162-game career averages of .306, 44, and 128 during the regular season.
Boras himself is not exempt from any sort of wrongdoing in the handling of Rodriguez’s opt-out clause here. Here was his explanation.
“Alex’s decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured pitchers was going to do,” he said to reporters after the announcement. “He really didn't want to make any decisions until he knew what they were doing.”
Now, wouldn’t it have made more sense to wait the 10 days Rodriguez is allowed after the World Series before deciding whether to opt out or not rather than before the World Series even ended? What if the Yankees managed to re-sign one of those two free agents and Andy Pettitte exercised his player option for 2008?
The Yankees are surely negotiating with all three to insure their return for next season. However, they are not allowed to formally announce anything, due to Commissioner Bud Selig’s gag rule that does not allow any teams to make major announcements without being fined.
No, this was just Boras at his worst. He wanted the limelight. He wanted to ruin what should’ve been the best weekend of the baseball season, the underdog Colorado Rockies facing the eventual champion Boston Red Sox in the biggest series of the year. He wanted to hear his name and his client’s name mentioned the morning after the World Series ended.
Boras at his worst is a guy who writes a 60-page book about his star client, but then says that Rodriguez’s postseason batting average is clear over .300, which happened on the television show “Rome is Burning.” It was, at the time, only in the .280s. This is a guy who says that 40% of his clients don’t take the highest offer, but who then says that Rodriguez won’t sign for anything less than $350 million with the New York Yankees. Ri-dic-u-lous.
Any way you look at it, this is the perfect marriage. Alex Rodriguez is a mercenary who cares solely about money and not enough about being productive when the calendar turns to October. What better person for Rodriguez to turn to in times of need than an agent bent on sucking every dollar possible from a franchise?
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