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.