A few A-Rod conspiracy theories

Yanks to offer arb to A-Rod for draft picks
This Rocket's at the end of this ride

So it’s been a long time a few hours since we lasted talked about A-Rod, and as Mike R. just asked, what exactly would we be talking about had A-Rod simply signed that extension?


Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk in around Yankeeland about what the Bombers could have done differently to retain the services of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. While Scott Boras claimed $350 million would have done the trick, I’m a bit skeptical. Let me instead offer you two A-Rod conspiracy theories.

1. Alex Rodriguez was never going to stay in New York

As much as Yankees fans would hate to admit it, it’s very possible that A-Rod simply wanted out of New York, and no amount of money or promises from Tampa could have changed a thing. A-Rod, not the most thick-skinned guy around, was, by many accounts, simply tired of New York City. Hew as tired of the tabloids tracking his every move; he was tired of the fans putting him under a microscope and expecting perfection. He was tired of shouldering the blame for postseason failures.

In fact, A-Rod disliked New York so much that he was willing to forego $81 million in guaranteed money over three years as well as $150 million more over the following five years. Again, I’m going to turn to Ben McGrath’s New Yorker article.

McGrath ends the article with a pregnant quote from Boras:

“Academically, and theoretically, they could make an offer,” Boras said as the Steinbrenner claimants prepared to hash out the Yankees’ future. Then, speaking of Rodriguez, he switched to the past tense: “He enjoyed playing in New York.”

McGrath reported and wrote this article before A-Rod officially opted out, but it sounds like Boras – and note that it’s Boras – has already made up his mind. A-Rod wasn’t coming back to New York, and nothing the Yankees could do would change that reality. If this is the case, A-Rod, arbitration offer or not, won’t be back in the Bronx. Time to move on.

2. Scott Boras strong-armed A-Rod into opting out

This theory requires a little bit of creativity, but it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

For two weeks after the Yankees lost to the Indians, A-Rod and Cynthia spent their time at Chez Boras in Newport Beach. There, Boras and A-Rod, according to reports, discussed their strategy. We will never know what was said behind those closed doors, but is it outlandish to think that Boras really pushed A-Rod to opt out?

We know that agents work for their players and not the other way around. But when it comes to Scott Boras and Alex Rodriguez, you’re talking about two men who have the chance to radically alter the baseball business landscape. Boras would so very desperately want A-Rod to opt out, and A-Rod could be swayed by the arguments put forth by Boras. It worked with Tom Hicks, a successful businessman; why wouldn’t Boras’ negotiating tactics work on his own clients?

So A-Rod opts out via text message, and we never hear from him at all. No press conference from A-Rod; no phone call; no nothing. He doesn’t call Robinson Cano, one of his closest friends on the team, and he doesn’t return Johnny Damon’s calls either.

Odd behavior, no?

Maybe A-Rod isn’t getting back to these people because he feels extremely guilty about what happened. He spent the summer proclaiming New York his home and really seemed to embrace the town and the team by the time September rolls around. And then, much like J.D. Drew did in Los Angeles, A-Rod, in a surprising move, jets.

Maybe Alex is ruing his decision. Maybe he can’t stand facing his teammates and doesn’t want to think about it. Maybe can’t stand how he has nearly replaced Barry Bonds as Baseball Public Enemy Number One in the eyes of the press. Murray Chass today posited that Boras could be regretting opting out, but what if that regret really stems from A-Rod? Maybe he thinks he should have heard out the Yankees after all. It’s a real possibility.

So how, if scenario two is true, does this soap opera play out? Well, A-Rod could accept arbitration and attempt to negotiate with the Yanks that way. He could fire Boras and play off opting out as a mistake. To return to the Yanks, he’d have to take at least a three-year pay cut, but I’m sure the Yanks could be convinced to re-sign the best free agent third baseman out there.

Maybe this is all just idle speculation. Maybe Boras and A-Rod will get their huge deal from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or the Flushing Mets of New York. But it’s certainly food for thought, and it’s impossible to envision a path for A-Rod, universally scorned, to emerge from this mess triumphant.

Yanks to offer arb to A-Rod for draft picks
This Rocket's at the end of this ride
  • yankz

    I think it’s theory number 1. He left literally the second he could without once meeting the FO. He hasn’t called Cano, Cash, the Steinbrenners, or Damon back. I think the dude just hated everything about NY and wants to move on.

  • Mike R.

    From what I’ve read A-Rod is a poker player, and not a very good one at that. He called the Yankees bluff and Cashman had two aces in the hole. I think he is currently in a tailspin and the reason we haven’t heard from him is because they don’t have a media strategy to deal with the questions they know A-Rod will get asked at the first opportunity.

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com Mike

    My theory is that Hicks paid off Boras to opt out.

    • Mike R.

      The thought had crossed my mind. I must admit.

    • dan

      However incredible that theory would be, it’s extremely unlikely. If that EVER got out, Hicks would be paying for his mistake for years to come. It’s not worth the $21M to him to risk that kind of deal.

  • barry

    My theory is that A-Rod’s blond mistress lives in New York and for him the easiest way for him to avoid the temptation was to bail and move to another city. That’s my farfetch’d conspiracy theory.

  • Jon

    #1 for sure. If it were about the money, Boras would have met with the Yankees and told them that Alex’s asking is [the maximum he thinks he could get from another team + $5M per year].

    Simply, if you work with the assumption that A) Alex likes NY, and B) he is going to the team that offers him the most money, then there is no reason whatsoever to opt out early. The Yankees are capable of offering the most, Boras and ARod both know it. PLUS they had the money from Texas. PLUS, even if they didn’t believe the “opt out and we’re not bidding on you” threat, they knew there was at least some chance they were telling the truth.

    So negotiating with the Yankees until the opt-out deadline has no downside whatsoever, and could very possibly result in the largest offer ARod would receive.


    If anything, I bet it’s the exact opposite of #2. Boras was probably begging Alex NOT to opt out, at least until some negotiation on the extension with the Yankees. As I’ve posted before, I think Alex opted out during the WS because if he waited, his excuse about “the uncertainty” with the team would be gone.

    So that’s why Boras made the announcement, and not Alex – he knew baseball wouldn’t react kindly to the timing of the announcement, but he wanted to shield ARod from it. He made the announcement as discreetly as possible, and later apologized for it personally. Remember, he said “I could have handled it better”, not “ARod should have waited.”

    • Chris

      This seems pretty plausible. The only question I have is this: do you really think ARod cares about the “team instability” excuse? I mean, he had to have figured that announcing his opt-out during the WS would generate a pretty big fall-out. Far more fallout, in fact, than if he had feigned negotiations with the Yanks for 10 days and then opted out, don’t you think? From a PR perspective, he really blew it if that’s what he had in mind.

  • cbeck3

    I have conspiracy theory 3. Arod wanted to stay. He tried to get an extension before the season. The Yanks wouldn’t bite. Fuming Arod told Boras “If I have to play without an extension I’ll defiately opt out. Especially if I have a killer year. My value will never be higher.”

    Then the Yanks go all, “If he opts out we won’t negotiate!” because they didn’t want to PAY him. This way he’s the jerk and they save the Dough. Remember we’re not talking Millions here we’re talking HUNDREDS of millions.

    • http://lbaprequel.lobitowebsite.com/ LBA Prequel

      How about no?

      Pay-Rod wanted the money, and thought (thinks) he could strong arm the Yankees, and called their bluff. There is one reason why players have Scott Boras as their agent – to make as much money as possible.

      Now, he’s pulling at straws, trying to get the Red Sox and Mets involved, hoping to bait the Yankees back in.

      I’ll miss his production, but he’s not the kind of character I want on this team. I hope the Steinbrenner brood keeps their word and tells A-Rod to stick it, unless he comes back for a price cut.

      • http://lbaprequel.lobitowebsite.com/ LBA Prequel

        Also, let it be said that I’ve been a pretty big A-Rod supporter since he came to NY…this last few weeks however has completely soured me towards him. Kind of feel the same way about Torre.

      • Relaunch

        Don’t worry, cbeck3 has had a man crush on Arod the entire season and believes the Yanks should have paid him whatever he wanted

  • stuart

    BS.. he wants the mantle of best player and highest paid but doesn’t he understand what comes with that???? Even clueless narcissist Arod knows that!!!!!!!!

    He is more trouble then he is worth and the Angels will find out that also once the honeymon ends. Or once they have no budget flexibility because of the insane arod contract….

    I will be ecstatic when he is gone and there is no more arod babble……

  • Kevin23

    A-Rod is really going to have a stick up his a$$ when he finds out that hitting in the 4-spot is much more statistically rewarding when you have guys hitting all around you. In fact, in case you missed most games last season, opposing pitchers were NEVER afraid of going after A-Rod. In fact, A-Rod was the guy they were aiming to strike out because the other guys in the Yanks lineup were great OPS guys. The strategy worked many times. In the meanwhile, A-Rod got pitches to hit, and had men on base. Good luck finding that elsewhere.

    And would A-Rod ever be above taking some performance enhancing drugs (drug tests in baseball are a joke) during his contract year so he could set himself up for life? Just a thought. I would.

    • steve (different one)

      In fact, in case you missed most games last season, opposing pitchers were NEVER afraid of going after A-Rod. In fact, A-Rod was the guy they were aiming to strike out because the other guys in the Yanks lineup were great OPS guys.

      dude, are you serious with this post?

      a-rod was the guy on the yankees that pitchers wanted to challenge last year? were you even watching the first 3 months of the season when A-Rod basically carried the team by himself?

      this might be the dumbest thing i have ever read.

      yes, A-Rod’s career OPS of .967 and 518 HRs is nothing more than a fluke created by a cushy spot in the batting order.

      simply insane.

  • Ron

    My theory, as I posted last week, is that the Yankees wanted A-Rod like they wanted Torre – ON THEIR OWN TERMS. If they couldn’t have them on their own terms, then they were prepared to play without them.

    While there is no denying Alex’s REGULAR SEASON numbers, since they hadn’t had any post season success with him, I believe the Yankees just decided that he was too high maintenance to justify the stratospheric numbers that Boras would be asking.

  • Mac

    I am going to go with the theory that A-Rod literally just wants the best contract, irregardless of liking New York or not. To do that, he had to go on the open market. It’s the only way to guarantee the best contract. And if the Yankees don’t like it, tough. I don’t think it’s personal at all for him, it’s just business. He has demonstrated time and time again throughout his career that he’s out to be the best; from personal things (like wearing a suit and tie to a 2 am meeting) to game-related things (like working harder than everyone else). Pursuing a huge contract is not just a part of that philosophy, but also a reward for it.

    We may hate him for leaving, but he’s still going to go down as one of the greatest players ever. He’s also going to get his money. So whatever, it’s win-win for him. If the Yankees cave, great. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter.

    From a fan standpoint, I’d love to think that he’s not going to get a bidding war going between teams without the Yankees in the equation, but that’s why he has got Boras. Boras will make sure that happens somehow. On a total sidenote: with all the money coming off the books in the next year or so, how long until the Yanks are below the salary cap?

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      he didnt HAVE to go on the open market to get the best deal. bc of the Texas $, the Yanks could have paid him $3 mil more than any other team, yet it still would be the same to them.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I think Boras believes (and he may well be right) that Alex can get between 300 and 350 mil. The Yankees were coming in around 250 mil when the smoke cleared and the posturing ended. Boras is not leaving 50 to 75 mil on the table.

    I think there could be a lot of truth to the theory that Alex did not want to stay with the Yanks. Alex doesn’t want too be a big fish in a big pond, or a big fish in a small pond, simply put, he wants to be the pond. That just can’t happen with the Yanks.

  • craig

    I find it completely plausible that he wanted out. There were times last year when I read some of the stuff written about him and said why on earth would he come back. He caqn make a nice living without being treated like scum….And yes I know the guy made a ton of money, but he’s still human. He was being blamed for everything.

    All I know is that in the 4 years he played for us, he never dogged it once. He may not have been successful, but he busted his ass on every play. I’ll be one of the few that will miss him in pinstripes….After all what’s more crazy….A-Rod getting 30 million or Giambi getting 20 million???

    • Relaunch

      Wow, I just shed a tear with your heart felt post. $30 million and no responsibilities or pressure, where do I sign up?

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      in defense of Giambi’s contract, he WAS coming off some stellar years including an MVP. who could’ve foreseen a falloff like this?

      • steve (different one)

        anyone who ever looked at the aging patterns of big, heavy sluggers on the wrong side of 30.

        not to mention the fact that George PROBABLY knew about the steroids as he allowed Giambi’s agent to strike the steroid-specific language in his contract.

        nothing puzzles me more than the contrast in the treatment of Giambi and A-Rod by Yankee fans over the last 4 years.

        • Jeterismyhomeboy

          See what happens when you badmouth Derek Jeter?

          Alex should have sent out a public apology for what he said and laid prostrate in front of Derek. That would have solved everything. Then no one would be blaming him.


          The human psyche is incomprehensible, especially when gauged in groups of 56,000+ at a time.

        • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

          he wasn’t only a slugger back then. he hit .342 his last year in oakland. he could actually hit to LF. his OPS+ was an insane 198! Arod hasn’t matched that. in fact he hasnt come within 20 pts of it.

  • Back Bay Yankee

    My feeling is that it’s probably some combination of #1 and #2 — they’re not mutually exclusive. A-Rod is feeling down about the postseason and the drubbing he’s taken from NY media outlets, Boras wants him to opt out and capitalizes on that. It’s a pre-commitment strategy. Now, even if A-Rod wants to come back, the tremendous backlash his actions have generated means that NYC will never truly be his home. Sucks, but there it is. Maybe he wasn’t aware that it was a pre-commitment strategy, but I’d bet dollars to dildos that Boras was.

  • Back Bay Yankee

    BTW, a pre-commitment strategy is one in which the individual says “me now wants to do X but me in the future may not want to, so I’m going to take action Y to make backpedaling impossible in the future.” I’m not trying to be condescending, sure a lot of you know that. I just wanted to be clear.

  • Rob

    I can’t believe you guys are still debating this. It #1 all the way without a doubt in my mind. As Cashman said, I don’t doubt he was sincere when he said those things through the year. But when it was time to make the decision, he made it.

    I suppose he could go to the Mets, and that would prove the theory wrong, but I see skiing souls in hell before that happening. They’re useful to drive up the price and nothing more.

    Meanwhile, isn’t the absolute best thing he could when he finally signs is to come out and say “NY just wasn’t a good fit”. He might actually get some sympathy in doing so. Let’s see if he has the balls to step up and state the obvious.

  • craig

    “in defense of Giambi’s contract, he WAS coming off some stellar years including an MVP. who could’ve foreseen a falloff like this?”

    You’re right…..but he hasn’t taken 25% of the heat A-Rod has and the guy won 2 MVP’s in 4 years in the Bronx. His playoff performance was poor….but at least he played.

    If you’re A-Rod and can make 20+ million wherever you go…..why not look at the outside factors as well. I certainly would.

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      Giambi was one hero of the 2003 LCS game 7. in some ways Giambi was lucky that in that offseason (2001) Arod trumped him as the highest paid player in baseball. otherwise, i agree, a lot more heat would have been put on him.