Musings on A-Rod’s ‘historic milestones’ contract

A-Rod returns, but CC steals the show
The Red Sox never forget

For one night with A-Rod back in the lineup and CC wheelin’ and dealin’, everything seemed right in the Yankee Universe. Of course, A-Rod was booed by the Orioles, but the Bronx cheers weren’t any louder than usual. He’ll do with that around the leagues, and some places — Boston and Texas — will be less forgiven than others.

Of the field, though, reporters are still trying to stir up something of an Alex Rodriguez story. To wit: A Jayson Stark column on A-Rod’s historic milestones clauses. As Stark reminds us, Hank Steinbrenner, in seemingly his last act of any importance atop the Yankee chain of command, gave Alex Rodriguez a ten-year contract with some heavy marketing bonuses for reaching certain home run totals.

While Nate Silver doesn’t think A-Rod will reach all of those milestones, the Yankees are operating on the belief that they will have paid A-Rod around $300 million over the life of this contract. In light of A-Rod’s PED admissions earlier this year, Stark asks around baseball, and his anonymous sources suggest that the Yanks should try to get out of those clauses of the contract.

Stark writes:

These are not questions the Yankees are asking — yet. But they’re questions we have heard asked around baseball lately, as A-Rod’s reputation, approval rating and marketability have plunged to somewhere south of Rio de Janeiro.

“If I’m the Yankees,” said an official of one team, “I think I’d be doing everything I could not to pay that money, and let him sue me for it.”

“I think the Yankees ought to challenge it and baseball ought to challenge it,” said an executive of another club. “And then it’s up to A-Rod and the union to determine how much they want to fight it. Does this guy really want to continue to go through this stuff? Does he really want to continue to explain himself?”

The rest of the column gets into your typical anonymous-source complaining about the Yanks’ alleged special treatment and how this contract just isn’t allowed within the rules of Major League Baseball. That part is more hot air than excerpted part above.

But anyway, I think Stark is full of it, and I think his unnamed baseball executives are full of it too. Imagine that you are a worker at a company, and your boss calls you into to say that, in fact, you won’t get paid those performance bonuses included in your contract. No one I know would be too thrilled about that, and you can bet that A-Rod and Scott Boras wouldn’t be either.

For better or worse, through sickness and through health, the Yankees and A-Rod are stuck with each other for this season and eight more afterward. The Yankees aren’t going to rock that boat by investigating a way out of these contract clauses, and Stark and his sources should know that just as well as the rest of us do.

A-Rod returns, but CC steals the show
The Red Sox never forget
  • Some call me…tim

    very nice post. Do you know where we can see Big Al’s contract?

  • Hobbes

    These reporters should report more and play executive less.

    • Hobbes

      Oh, and only because this site is so good, and only out of kindness, it is “to wit”

  • Pasqua

    However, if my employer announced that he would not be paying the bonuses promised in my contract, I would be able to fight it without fear of being dragged through a months-long media firestorm that put the finishing touches on the destruction of my reputation and legacy.

    So, there’s that.

    • steve (different one)

      i don’t know.

      A-Rod and the union would fight it, and they would win pretty easily.

      it’s a signed contract. i don’t see the yankees having a leg to stand on.

  • eric

    “Of the field…”?????

  • J.W.

    I believe you mean “aren’t going to rock that boat.”

  • http://deleted J.W.

    Jeez, us commenters are harsh with the typo corrections. But it’s only because we care, it’s not meant to mock or anything. lord knows commenters make tons of typos.

  • donttradecano

    “and let him sue me”

    And let him win.


    • Matt ACTY

      You want oaktag? I just walked to the English department to take a final at 10:30. The building is open but all the classrooms are locked. My final is now a take home.

      • Mike Pop

        You just got teabagged.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


  • Ed

    Not paying someone and letting them sue you works when the person makes tens of thousands of dollars are year and you are fighting over a similar amount. It’s no where near as effective when they make tens of millions per year and are fighting over a similar amount.

  • Derby

    A-rod getting this money would be like all those AIG execs that took their bonus money, even though the company was going down the sh*tter. Yea, they’re legally supposed to get the money, but c’mon, how can they sleep at night?

    • steve (different one)

      no, not really.

      A-Rod is still hitting those HRs that he is under contract to be paid to hit.

      and despite what the braintrust in the NY Media will have you believe, those HRs count and help the Yankees’ win baseball games.

      i know, A-Rod only hits 3 run HRs in the 1st inning. which as we can tell from last night, do nothing to help you win.

      • Pasqua

        The homeruns he hits now, of course, count and I welcome them. The point that I was suggesting earlier (and I think Derby is suggesting) is that the real issue here will be the homeruns he hit back THEN (i.e., when he was juicing in Texas). It will be a very interesting case if it ever comes about. Think about it: he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs that, by definition, enhance your performance. You could very well argue (if you’re the Yanks) that many / some / all of the homeruns A-Rod hit (in the years he admitted to doing the drug) should not count towards the march to Bonds/Aaron/Ruth. That, in turn, could invalidate his bonuses. So, the Yanks legal argument may have nothing to do with what he does as a Yankee, but instead, what he did as a Ranger.

        • Derby

          Exactly my point Pasqua. My point is that A-Rod signed this contract under false pretenses. The Yankee organization did not know that he had used PEDs at the time he signed this contract. I was just using the AIG example as a way to show that even though they legally are owed the money, its the moral side that makes it tough to swallow. Yea I know A-Rod wins us games, but he also cheated the game, and that, as a fan of baseball, and the yankees, is hard to swallow.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Nowhere in the contract does it explicitly say that the homer milestones are significant and bonus-worthy because ARod was/is steroid free.

            So I don’t buy the “false pretenses” argument.

  • A.D.

    The fact the Yankees “aren’t asking these questions – yet” might mean they don’t care that much. If they wanted to strike on the contract they should have done so right around the scandal when fans would have some mixed emotions and A-Rod was more of a villain. As he comes back produces, and helps win games, he’ll get more support (like the guys with the “Support 13” sign last night) and the Yankees will just look bad to their fans going after these bonuses.

    These HR may still very well be marketable, and even if diminished those HRs totals are in there because they found a loophole for performance based bonuses, and if A-Rod hits over 700 career HR the Yankees will likely be pleased with their 10 year investment.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’ll still enjoy watching him pass those milestones.

  • Texeiramvp (JobaCyYoung)/Letsgoyankees-It depends on the blog

    Who cares? ARod’s back!

  • tonyb

    The only way I can see them having a case is if the Yankees can prove the PEDS he took artificially inflated his numbers prior to the signing of the contract. If that is the case, and he is now being paid to produce to a level that can no longer achieve due to lack of PEDS. Thats smells like fraud to me.

    This is akin to lying on your resume and saying you graduated from Stanford when you really went to local community college. If your employer finds out, you will be fired immediately, no questions asked.

    They should have done this with Giambi IMHO.

    Standard disclaimer – i’m not a lawyer, just another idiot on the internets.

  • Mike HC

    No one can tell me that the Yankee management did not know that A-Rod was taking illegal substances when they agreed to that contract. God only knows how this would play out in a court room, but it would be a pretty slimy move by the Yankees if they decided to just not pay A-Rod what was previously agreed to. The idea that Jayson Stark would think it is a good idea to just withhold A-Rod’s bonus’ and have him sue the team is really ludicrous.

  • Mike Axisa

    Yeah, getting out of the bonuses isn’t going to happen. A-Rod, Boras and the Union will sue the snot out of the team, and the Yanks will be stuck having to prove that what he took improved his homerun totals significantly.

    A-Rod would win, and the team would have be renamed the Far North Miami Rodriguezes.

    • Matt ACTY

      I can’t wait to get my new FNMR t-shirt.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I think he’d name them the “New York AlexisbetterthanDerekJeters”.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Boras and the Union will sue the snot out of the team, and the Yanks will be stuck having to prove that what he took improved his homerun totals significantly.

      This is still moot.

      Because even if the Yankees prove that what he took inflated his homerun totals, they then have to convince baseball to INVALIDATE SOME OF THOSE HOME RUNS HIT AND LOWER HIS CURRENT CAREER RECORDED HOME RUN TOTAL. Which won’t happen, nor should it.

      And, even if they do, they still can’t strike the actual bonus out of the contract, because it’s tied simply to homers hit, not “clean” or “steroid free” homers hit.

  • Chris

    If A-Rod reaches those milestones, he’ll bring in far more to the team than the $30M the Yankees spend on the bonuses. Just look at the Giants’ attendance with and without Bonds.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Oh, and…

    Jayson Stark has murdered journalism history.