Boras starting the A-Rod negotiations

Brian Cashman's #1 offseason goal
Prospect Profile: Andrew Brackman

Now that we have a nifty little Spring Training countdown in place of what would have been an idle Joba Watch, let’s start the Hot Stove League off with a bang. I’d like to revisit the Jack Curry article on Scott Boras Or rather, let’s revisit what the article did not say.

In the piece, Curry talks at length about Scott Boras’ comments today that lay out in no uncertain terms his desire to see his number one client Alex Rodriguez opt out of his Yankee contract and head to free agency. Fine. That’s not news. What’s not in the article is the news.

In story after story yesterday, the word from Boras is, well, rather ridiculous. He feels A-Rod, 32 now, could and wants to play until he is 45; could break Pete Rose’s all-time hits record; could hit 1000 HR; could draw in $1 billion in revenue for a team with its own cable network; and should earn $33 million a year.

If all of those things happen, baseball should just stop because you would never ever see a player of that caliber again. But hyperbole aside, wading through Boras’ statements reveals the start of a negotiation. First, the age is important. Alex Rodriguez is 32 now, and his current contract runs out when he’s 35. He wants a ten-year contract extension.

Now, the money. In an ideal world, a team — the Yankees with their deep pockets and, conveniently enough, their own cable network already estimated to be worth a billion dollars — would hear out Boras and say, “Ok, Mr. Rodriguez. Here’s your ten-year, $330-million contract, guaranteeing your presence in pinstripes until you turn 45.”

But negotiations don’t work this way. The Yankees will offer a counterproposal, and they have a very firm and very public starting point from Boras. A counteroffer from the Yanks would probably be for seven years and $210 million or $30 million a year. A-Rod would be paid exceedingly well once he hits his early 40s, and the Yanks would keep him in pinstripes during what promises to be his next few very productive seasons.

There’s a catch. With A-Rod and the Yankees, there’s always a catch. Should the Yankees sink $30 million a season into one player? Should they be ready and willing to fork over $30 million for A-Rod to play his age 40, age 41 and age 42 seasons in the Bronx? That is a very, very tough call.

This year, Jason Giambi has been the poster child for overpaid, aging sluggers. Now, Alex Rodriguez, one of those genetic freaks who are amazingly healthy and great at baseball, doesn’t come with the needle-induced health problems of Jason Giambi. But only one baseball player has ever played well enough past 40 to deserve anywhere close to $30 million a year, and that person — Barry Bonds — is not saint.

So now, the fun begins for Brian Cashman. They’ll have to debate and analyze the numbers. They’ll have to look at budget projections, attendance numbers and TV ratings in an effort to make sense of a single player out of 25 making $30 million a year. The wild card in all of this is that robust salary. I don’t think any other team can come close to affording it while still putting a half-way decent team on the field, but I could be wrong. I certainly don’t envy Brian Cashman and the Yankees baseball people as they try to make sense of this. Good luck, folks. I have no answer to this A-Rod question right now.

Brian Cashman's #1 offseason goal
Prospect Profile: Andrew Brackman
  • Lil Jimmy Norden

    Great post.

    No way they should extend him 10 years or more. It’s simply not worth it in the latter years.

    I think 6 or 7 is reasonable at 30 mil per year. perhaps they can add an 8th and/or 9th year at like 15 mil plus 15 mil in incentives or something.

    paying a 40+ year old 30 mil blindly is alot to ask.

  • E-ROC

    Hopefully, A-Rod comes back, but my gut feeling says he’ll listen to that voice in his head that goes by the name of Scott Boras, and opts out.

    Cashman will be in a tough position this winter. He has a lot of work to do and every signing will scrutinized to the ”nth” degree.

  • Relaunch

    Could care less if he leaves. These salaries and economics of baseball are getting ridiculous. If he wants to leave, let him leave. The stuff he said all season and on Sep 26th will make him look that much dumber. Adam Eaton made over 8million this year, thats all I have to say.
    When the average salary of people at games is probably $50,000, I find it comical how everyone says “of course, give him Arod whatever he wants. If he wants $33 million, give it to him”

    People have no concept of money.

  • brxbmrs


    MLB is becoming a sport to be patronized by the wealthy – I agree – MLB doesn’t care about the fan who will root for his team no matter what – in a sense we are deadbeats b\c we won’t or can’t pay the prices they want to charge – so we end up watching on tv and boosting their neilsens – heads mlb wins, tails mlb wins.

    Now to A-Rod and $ – this is almost a theory vs. reality problem.

    In theory, a 10 year deal should offer so much risk and become very expensive in the latter years of the deal when you look at what potential production would be when A-Rod is in his late 30’s early 40’s.

    In practice (and Boras and the Yanks must know this) A-Rod brings in $x a year in terms of ticket sales and consessions, advertising, etc – I wouldn’t be surprised to see that A-Rod generates i.e. $75 mil a year – the thing is we don’t know what that # is (same for MAtsui btw who I think is an embarassment on the field but he probably is worth a multiple of his salary in terms of what his presence on the roster generates).

    To get totally ridiculous, if I owned the team my goal would be long term (I’m 30 years younger than George) – I’d let Mo, Jorge, A-Rod, Abreu all go and waive bye bye to Moose and Giambi in 09.

    The two reasons I feel that way are:

    One, I believe the Yanks have been keeping payrolls artifically high the last several years and bailing out other teams from making bad deals that would have forced them to trade better players to keep afloat (i.e. A-Rod and Texas) or not be able to sign other players to compensate for dead money like we do.

    Two, I think the 80’s showed me that you can have an unbelievable offense – i.e. Henderson, Randolph, Donnie and Winnie, but if you don’t have pitching, you don’t have a championship caliber team – and that’s the big Yanks plus – we may have some real home grown pitching – and alot of it.

    IOW, I’d try to rebuild the next few years and hope it didn’t blow up in my face – I think if the Yanks let some other teams overpay for A-Rod, Jorge and Mo and stay away from the poor fa class, the Yanks would transfer a higher burden of a over weighted payroll to their competition and be more flexible financially and younger and deeper on their own roster.

    JMO, and of course I doubt it will happen that drastically – too many hot dogs being sold with this team.

  • The Scout

    The Yankees are attempting to do something that few franchises pull off successfully — rebuild while remaining very competitive at the same time. Only a team with vast resources can do that, and even then it takes shrewd management.

    Given the Yankees’ agenda, they will try to resign Mo, Posada, and A-Rod, and hope Pettite decides to return. (He may want another year added to his deal, too). For every one of these players, as I have noted before, you have to expect to pay at least a year longer than the player will be effective. The Yankees can afford to do that. Should they? Yes, if they want to be in the surest position to win during the transition period.

    On the other hand, if one of these players could be replaced by a viable, cheaper alternative, then the Yankees could still compete and rebuild simultaneously. A player such as Mike Lowell might fill A-Rod’s shoes adequately for the next couple of years, giving the organization time to development a long-term third base candidate. (I’m guessing Lowell is good for .300/20 hr/90 rbi; he had a career year this year, but so did A-Rod.) The Yankees could be competitive with a Lowell type IF the pitching improves sufficiently with the development of young talent so that the offense doesn’t have to offset it so often. Cashman may calculate that he can reallocate the A-Rod dollars in a way that yields a more balanced team — and one that can go deeper into the post-season.

    All this involves trade-offs. A-Rod at $30 million for seven years makes sense in terms of his likely career productivity and the Yankee revenue stream. Anything more than that — more $, more years — becomes irrational. Some owner will pay Boras’s numbers; he excels at finding the one idiot in the bunch.

  • bkight

    I love Alex as a player, but if the 10 yr $252M contract he signed 7 years isn’t enough, then let him walk. The contract was ridiculous then and would be crazy today. The market has gone down, not up. Look what Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Zito and others have got recently. No one is even getting $20M/yr, why would someone give Alex $30M? The only reason the Yankees got him in the first place was Hicks regretted the contract the moment he signed off and had to give the Yankees $7M/yr to take him off their hands.

    There are too many good young players out there to sign 32 yr olds to 10 year deals. Cabrera, Teixiera, Santana, Sabathia and Bedard all become FAs soon and can probably be had for half of what Boras is asking.

  • Ivan

    If You were the Yankees would you do this:

    Not pick up the option of Bobby Abreu

    Move Melky to Right and Sign Aaron Rowand

    Sigh Kerry Wood for a one year deal. I know the risk with Kerry Wood, but it is a one year deal and he’s better than Farnsworthless. High risk High reward guy.

    If A-Rod doesn’t sign, would you trade for one of the third baseman in colorado in Garret Atkins or the minor leaguer in Ian Stewart who while has live to expectation has a high ceiling and change of senery might really help him. Hey he’s better than Eric Duncan by far.

    What you guys think?

    • Joseph P.

      No on Rowand. He’s had a rollercoaster of a career, but will command top dollar because he just put up his best numbers — in a hitter’s park. I’d far rather have Abreu at one year, $16 mil than Rowand at four or five years and $50 or $60 million.

    • brxbmrs


      I like Rowand, but I saw him turn the wrong way a few times on fly balls in the NLDS, I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out Melk is a better defensive CF – the stats support it.

      Rowand’s offense also may not be what we expect coming back to the AL as well.

      I do think though that as far as the OF goes keeping Damon in LF, and gettting another defensive + to replace Abreu is the way to go.

      As for Kerry Wood, I think its a mistake – Yanks biggest problem has been uncertainty and lack of depth and consistency in the rotation – that should be the main focus this year and its why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Melk go in a deal for Santana along with a guy like IPK and Betemit – thats if the Twins really do trade him.

      I think we need to have the rotation as solid as possible going in to the year.

    • Mike A.

      No on Rowand. As crazy as it sounds, $16M for 1-yr of Bobby is a pretty good deal.

      I’m down with Kerry Wood, but i don’t think a 1-yr deal will do it. Someone out there might go as high as 3 yrs, and if I’m him that’s what I shoot for, his career could end tomorrow.

      Garrett Atkins is a product of Coors Field, no way he’s a 110-120 RBI guy in a real stadium. I’d rather take my chances with Ian Stewart, but what’s it going to take to get him? Horne? Whelan? Marquez?

    • Stephen

      I don’t really see the point of going after Rowand. He doesn’t bring a lot of the things to the lineup that Abreu does. Sure he would be a defensive upgrade, but Abreu, if not great in the field, is not a liability either. Finally, as other people have said, Rowand’s price tag will be bloated this offseason as he’s coming off the best year of his career.

      • brxbmrs

        I think all you guys don’t realize how little ground Abreu actually covers especially towards the line (alot of balls were hit down the RF line and it seems like Abreu was never anywhere near them). Also, his arm is not what it once was or was overrated.

        Abreu is a defensive liability and as I stated before the playoffs is a soft offensive player – which he proved to be.

        It raises another interesting point inre OBP – I’m wondrering if OBP means a lot less when you have a guy like Abreu who hits about .280 – especially in a slot like #3. Abreu is part of the current Yank problem – I think the Yanks can sacrifice some of Abreu’s production for better D.

        Personally, even if it meant slotting in Shelley Duncan as our RF next year, I’d do that in a heartbeat rather than bringing Abreu back.

        • Ben K.

          If you think someone who its .280/.369/.445 over the course of a season and .312/.397/.525 over his last 107 games is part of the problem, you must demand perfection from all of your baseball players. This idea of a “soft” offensive player is patently ridiculous as well.

          • brxbmrs


            You can quote gross stats till the cows come home – Abreu came up very small with the bat in the post season like pretty much everyone did.

            He compounds the problem of aging, expensive and one way players that the Yanks have fielded the last few years.

            I don’t expect perfection in my players – what I prefer is a guy who can play + D as well as not hurt you offensively.

            As for being soft, he was – so were most of the Yanks – its a big issue that needs to be adressed.

            Yanks need to move on.

        • Joseph P.

          “I’m wondrering if OBP means a lot less when you have a guy like Abreu who hits about .280”

          Please. I don’t want to have to write a 2,000 word article on the importance of OBP again.

          It’s simple. Your OBP is the number of times you stroll to the plate and don’t immediately stroll back to the dugout. In your plate appearance, you did not use one of the team’s valuable 27 outs. More importantly, you didn’t use one of the three outs they have before having to start all over again.

          Guys with high OBPs don’t make as many outs. Therefore, they extend innings. Therefore, there is a better chance to score runs.

          I can elaborate more if necessary.

  • JP Surget

    I’m sick of Boras and his stupid smoke and mirrors projections. Last year I’m sure you remember he did the same thing with Dice-K. I’m glad that ESPN did that story to dispute some of the numbers. It’s almost impossible to confirm how much revenue an individual player brings to a team because of all the intangibles that happen from year to year (i.e. stadiums opening/closing, sponsors, roster changes, yearly performance of the team). Obviously the revenues increase with players like A-Rod but I think Boras is using soft numbers and trying to mince them into some type of absolute cost for the team.

    • Relaunch

      It would be nice also if they did something on his promotion of Chan Ho Park and how Damon will get 3000 hits.

  • E-ROC

    I actually like the idea of Kerry Wood in pinstripes. Why not? It wouldn’t cost much. It would probably take an incentive laden deal. It would be a low risk, high reward, given the amount of talented relievers we have coming to ST next year. He’s the only decent one beside Fransisco Cordero, and we all know he’ll want to close.

    There might be a lot of talent that will be non tendered like Dontrelle Willis, Joe Crede (?), and Mark Prior. I doubt the Yankees trade for Santana. Why pay twice?

    • Mike A.

      He’s the only decent one beside Fransisco Cordero, and we all know he’ll want to close.

      And that’s exactly why Kerry Wood will get a pretty big contract this winter. I’d rather just plug in some of the kids and hope they stick if Wood starts asking for 3 or 4 yrs at $5M per.

      • Stephen

        I can’t see Wood geting a 3-4 year deal with his track record. I think he’s just going to go for one year and an option around five million per, something along the lines of Gagne’s deal with Texas. If that’s the case, I see no reason why the Yanks shouldn’t take a flier on him. If he stays healthy he could very well be one of the best set-up men in baseball, if he’s healthy it’s not a huge investment.
        Behind resigning Mo, Posada, and dealing with the A-Rod situation, reshaping the bullpen has to be Cashman’s priority this offseason, especially with Joba moving to the rotation.

  • brxbmrs

    E Roc,

    Inre Santana, you are assuming the Twins don’t trade him and just settle for picks – I think that won’t be the case.

  • Adam

    If I was Cashman I’d be pretty hard with A-Rod. Stick with your guns. If he opts out, let him walk away. If he wants an extension, no more than 3 years at his current $25 million, which would give him 6 years more at $25 million per, which is still a lot for a player heading into the decline years of his career.

    Do you want to be paying a 38 year old A-Rod $30 million to hit .280 and 30 home runs when you know you have 4 more years of decline left at the same cost?

    A-Rod is an amazing player and I’d love to see him get some records back into the hands of a Yankee, but he is not the answer to the World Series. Yes his bat is hard to replace, but the Yanks of 96-00 didn’t exactly have a big basher. A balanced lineup is key, but even more so is pitching and roster flexibility.

    If you lose A-Rod, trade some B-level pitching prospects for a Joe Crede-type to pair with Wilson Betemit. Will that replace A-Rod? No. But the offense can afford a drop in production if the Yanks can bolster their pitching.

    Besides, if you look at what is available on the free agent market or by trade, it is actually easier to find a third baseman than it is a catcher or closer. So make sure to resign Posada and Mo, even if they have to overpay them a bit. They are far more valuable together than A-Rod, and will cost less. Not that the decision is an either/or, but Cashman must set priorities.

  • brxbmrs


    I understand the importance of OBP, but when you have a guy like Abreu who K’s over 100 times and walks instead of becoming a run producer, I think you have to factor that in somehow.

    • Adam

      If you look at who’s available to replace Abreu, it is clear that he is the best option for 2008.

      Besides, with his decline of power, it might be best to bat Abreu second, with Jeter 3rd. Or if Damon continues his decline into a 4th outfielder/Darin Erstad, then Jeter can take over the leadoff role, with Abreu batting second.

      You don’t want to count on Rowand, he’s now past his peek year, his defense is right around Melky’s level, and he’s more likely to bat .280/.330/.420 outside of Citizen’s Bank park than he is to repeat the year he just had.

      And Abreu you can jettison next year, Rowand you’d be stuck with for 4 or 5.

      • brxbmrs


        I think you make the only compelling arguement to keep Abreu – in essence as a stop gap. This site, as great as it is, pretty much ignores defense and doesn’t believe in intangible concepts like clutch hitting or compiling stats – I do (doesn’t mean I’m right) and I see the current Yanks offense as one that thrives on mediocre pitching.

        I think the Yanks need to ignore the FA market- very little value there – the interesting thing will be if they decide to use the farm to get a player or two.

        • Joseph P.

          Ignores defense? Uh, where were you when Mike and I were lobbying for Mink when he came back from his injury? Please, don’t mischaracterize us because for the most part we believe that clutch hitting, much like any kind of hitting, is based on luck. Look at Jeter this series. Unclutch, or unlucky? Unlucky, right? And that, in essence, is the point.

          Once again, full elaboration coming through the off-season.

        • The Scout

          The Yankees do thrive on mediocre pitching. Do you know another strong offensive team that doesn’t? Perhaps a useful stat would be the offensive output of hitters versus the top fifteen starters and top five closers in the league — that is, production against elite pitching.

          • Joseph P.

            Baseball Prospectus has “Quality of Pitchers faced by Batter,” though it’s not the best stat (they also have the converse stat). It’s about the best out there right now, I suppose.

  • Ivan

    OBP is very important no question but at times I think it’s overrated for the simple fact that guys like Giambi and Dunn who can’t do nothing on the basepaths clog the bases way to much.One thing about Abreu is that not only he has a great OBP% but he has enough speed to steal 20 to 30 bases a year.

    As for the Kerry Wood thing, When I mean’t sign Kerry Wood, I mean’t it to be a set up guy for Mo Rivera not for a starter. At this point of his career (and the fucked up part he’s still relatively young) his body can’t hold up as a starter period. His body is fragile and his mechanics are awful. I feel that Kerry Wood can be a big time closer for any team in the majors. If he’s smart and the team who’s dealing with him is, Why not take one year deal, have a great year as a set man, get on the market again and then all of sudden sign three year deal as a closer for 30M. I just can’t see a team that crazy giving him a MULTI YEAR Deal despite the market being so barren with Kerry Wood’s checkered past with his physical health. That is why I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the yankees offer him one year deal to set up Mo. Besides for his career sake he needs a change of senery anyway and the cubs need to depart with him unless they sign him for one year deal as the closer for the cubs since Ryan Dempster is that great.

    As for A-Rod again, I love to have him back, I really do and I have always liked the guy since seattle and love hear in NY. Nevertheless, the yankees need to show some guts here, if his asking price is that steep then let him go somewhere else and go to another direction.

    Here’s one question since I said that the yankees should sign Rowand, Who would you take if you are the yank: Torii Hunter or Aaron Rowand.? Both are great defensively and overachieve offensively this year and both have been good but certainly not great offensive players. The reason I like Rowand is because he’s younger and has that run through the wall approach to the game I really liked. What you guys think?

    • Adam

      RE: Rowand vs. Hunter

      That really depends for how long. If you are asking me for just next year, I’d pick Hunter in a second. Rowand is good defensively, Hunter was elite, but still at least great. Offense-wise, like I’ve said earlier, look at Rowand’s career. It would not surprise me at all next year if he hits .280/.330/.420 with 11 home runs (Melky does that now more or less). Hunter is good for at least .280/.340/.470 with 20 some home runs.

      When you start talking long term, 4-5 years, learn from Bernie and Damon. He’ll probably collapse a year or two into it. Rowand will just be inconsistent and give you 11 home runs one year and 20 the next.

  • brxbmrs


    I agree with the speed element as making OBP more meaningful, problem with Abreu is his rep as being willing to take a walk and leave it up to the next guy (in a key situation) – I actually just heard the “Sports Pope” on WFAN say that after watching Abreu for the last year + he feels he’s overrated – maybe I need to change my opinion ;-).

    I think the only danger in trying to retool Wood (or that line of thinking for anyone) is that there is alot of uncertainty and I think that the Yanks need to do whatever they can to go into spring training with a relatively set roster and determined roles.

    The danger lies in assuming you are going to have Wood give you something and it prevents you from having real options if and when he fails.

    I think that’s why its going to be tough to let Joba start, unless Veras\Ohlendorf\Sanchez\? pull a Joba next year.

  • The Scout

    Sounds like a good argument for leaving Melky in center, which is exactly what the yankees will do. In a couple of years, if Jackson or Tabata really develops and shows CF production, Melky could be moved. In the words of Billy Carter, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” CF ain’t broke.

  • Travis G.

    i also strongly like the idea of signing Kerry Wood to a short-term deal to be a reliever.

    At points during the season i thought Arod would not opt-out, but now i’m sure he will. there are some crazy teams out there willing to shell ridiculous amounts of money, e.g. Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, who would probably give him more than the Yanks.

    ideally we would re-sign the big 4, but the most important guys are the pitchers, especially Mo. without him and Joba starting, who’s the closer? Farnsworth?!