What’s the deal?

Chew on this one, Boston
New Stadium picking up good vibrations

Murray Chass at The Times comes in two flavors. One one hand, we’ve got the Bad Murray Chass who rails against VORP and feels threatens by numbers. On the other hand, we’ve got the Good Murray Chass who, today, takes A-Rod to task for being a phony and puts into words what many of us are thinking.

In his column, Chass writes about how easy it would have been for A-Rod to satisfy himself about the stability in New York. The Yanks named a new manager as soon as the World Series was over, and A-Rod could have called Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte to sound them out on free agency. Rodriguez’s claims of concern over the instability of the future of the franchise fall pretty flat.

Chass gets into the meaty stuff when he discusses the contract extension offer. While Boras and A-Rod didn’t return the Yanks’ calls, they knew that the initial offer would bring A-Rod’s deal up to an average annual value up to $28.5 million. They probably could have negotiated that up to $30 million. What’s another $1.5 million to the Yankees anyway?

So why didn’t A-Rod or Boras get back to the Yanks? I’ll let Chass cover this:

He was either calling the Yankees’ bluff that they wouldn’t pursue him if he became a free agent, or he knows there’s a team prepared to pay him more than the Yankees would have…

For Boras and Rodriguez not even to listen to the offer and not wait until the deadline prompts suspicion. In fact, the commissioner’s office, which was outraged by Boras’s untimely disclosure, is watching developments with a wary eye.

A year ago J. D. Drew, another Boras client, opted out of a contract with the Dodgers that had three years and $33 million left and signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Red Sox. Drew and the Red Sox denied it, but the Dodgers firmly believed tampering had been involved in the deal.

Frank McCourt, the Dodgers’ owner, chose not to challenge the signing, and the commissioner’s office did not investigate it. The Yankees, however, would not shy from a fight and would file a complaint if they suspected tampering.

Since Will Leitch’s piece in New York magazine hit the stands, these thoughts have been out there. Chass has finally put them to paper.

If I’m the Yankees, at this point, I make life hell for Boras and Rodriguez. When – and not if – Alex Rodriguez signs that next blockbuster deal, the Yanks should press hard on a tampering investigation. Boras and A-Rod wouldn’t have sacrificed so much money if they didn’t have another team waiting in the wings to ink the future Hall of Famer.

This isn’t even a matter of petty revenge for the Yankees. It’s a matter of baseball integrity. Thanks to last week’s New Yorker, we know that Scott Boras is not exactly a good guy and that he is actively working to reshape the finances of baseball in his image. It’s time for the sport to take a stand, and if A-Rod ends up being that Fall Guy, so be it. He should have thought of that before opting out.

Chew on this one, Boston
New Stadium picking up good vibrations
  • Adam B.

    The one problem is that Chass to this day has not proven that anyone in the Dodger’s organization believes there was tampering. And his use of unnamed sources in this manner goes against the Times ethics standards. This was shown on FireJoeMorgan.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think he falters a little bit when he says “the Dodgers firmly believe…”

      Much like the rest of us, the Dodgers probably are wary of that J.D. Drew. Would it surprise me if the Red Sox had reached out to Boras before the end of 2006? Not at all. In the same vein, it wouldn’t surprise if the Cubs or some other team had already reached out to A-Rod before he opted out, which would constitute tampering.

  • Count Zero

    Don’t underestimate the value of petty revenge — petty revenge can be very comforting. ;-)

    All kidding aside, I couldn’t agree more. As usual, you have captured my sentiments perfectly. This started out ugly and I think it’s gonna’ get uglier before it’s finished.

  • RZG

    Oh good, we’ll do it for the integrity of baseball.

    What’s going to be your reaction if it’s shown that the Yanks have bent the rules in the same way? Do you think one morning Randy Johnson just woke up and thought it’d be great to move across the country to become a Yankee?

    If the Yankees have reasonable proof and have nothing to be afraid of from their own actions then by all means press the issue but like Caesar’s wife, the accuser must be above suspicion.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Do you think one morning Randy Johnson just woke up and thought it’d be great to move across the country to become a Yankee?

      You lost me with that one. The Yankees made a trade with the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson. That’s a bit of a different beast than tampering.

      • RZG

        The trade didn’t just come out of the blue, Johnson had to approve it. Do you really think Johnson’s reps didn’t feel out NY before the deal was talked about? That’s how I remember the trade starting out.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          As Rick said, in that case, the Yankees, after the season ended, called the Diamondbacks and asked for permission to speak to Johnson. If the D-backs chose to grant that permission, then talks can proceed apace. Otherwise, it’s tampering. I would am 99.9 percent sure that the Yanks were not tampering with RJ in 2004.

  • Rick in Boston

    Yeah, but the D-backs allowed the Yankees to meet with Johnson and his reps, which is perfectly legal and happens all the time when trading players. It’s guaranteed that Boras has had “off-the-record” conversations with other ownership groups about A-Rod.

  • Jon

    Wow, I agree with something Murray Chass writes. Well, some of it. He is spot on with his analysis of Girardi, Mo, Posada, and Pettitte.

    But, and it kind of pains me to say this, I firmly believe is was NOT about the money, because if it were, Boras would have negotiated to the end with the Yankees. Even if he has a 8 year, $250M contract on the table from another team, he would have asked the Yankees for 10 years, $330M. The fact that he didn’t even talk to the Yankees pretty much proves to me that it’s not about the money. After all, the Yankees can pay the most for many reasons. 1, they’re the Yankees. 2, they had the Texas money. 3, they have the most to lose, because now they have to replace ARod’s production one way or another.

    ARod simply didn’t want to play in NY, but needed an excuse, because how confident would you be about signing a guy who says “that pressure was just too much for me there”? He found an excuse – the “uncertainty” in the organization. But he knew that that that excuse was rapidly disappearing – the manager would be named the next day, and the players he mentioned would start signing.

    Thus he HAD to interrupt the World Series, because there was no other option. If he waits, even a day or two, his excuse is gone, and suddenly he’s ARod who can’t handle the pressure, instead of ARod who’s concerned about the future of his team.

    I believe they announced when they did DESPITE the fact that the WS was going on, not BECAUSE it was. Boras isn’t stupid – he’d rather not piss off everyone in the sport, including Boston, a potential suitor for ARod.

    But he didn’t have a choice – ARod had to opt out then, or else the whole plan to keep whatever was left of his image intact would crumble.

    And that why ARod opted out when he did.

  • wayne’s world

    There are only two possible reasons for Arod’s actions–Murray Chass’ as reported by Ben and Jon’s in his post. Pure and simple. Time will tell which one is right. I’ve been pondering this for two days and aside from those two explanations, I haven’t been able to imagine one. Jon’s is a more idealistic view of the world and I’m a bit sceptical about it. But I don’t discount it entirely, though I do tend to discount it. We’ll see soon.

  • Jason

    It is not obvious to me that ARod would have to have another deal lined up in order to make such a drastic move to get out of New York. Isn’t it possible that ARod knows just as well as the rest of us that he is the best player in baseball right now, he’s riding the high of arguably the best season of his career, and he is confident that he will get a ridiculously lucrative offer regardless of whether he has one already waiting in the wings or not? Tampering in this situation just seems so unnecessary to me. ARod is gonna get a HUGE deal wherever he goes, and that place will make much, much more money in revenue by having ARod on their team. What more do you need to work with, as an agent? The only way that a man as experienced as Boras would resort to tampering in this situation would be if he were working under the assumption that he was somehow immune to these sorts of rules, which, I suppose, would not be too much of a stretch for Boras, but still seems surprising given the high profile of the situation. I buy the argument that ARod wanted to get out of New York hastily before I buy the argument that he already actually had preliminary deals worked out with other teams.

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