Mariano Rivera still hasn’t signed his contract. The longer he waits, the less sympathetic I become. Rivera has built up 12 years of good will in New York. Why is he burning it all right now during the twilight of his career? Three years and $45 million is more than he ever should be making and way more than anyone else will offer. Just sign it already. · (10) ·
In non-A-Rod news, the Yankees announced that Hideki Matsui, their Designated Hitter, underwent successful knee surgery and will begin a rehab program on Friday. Matsui, who has a past of knee problems stretching back to his days in Japan, should be back at full strength by the time Spring Training rolls around. Derek Jeter, the other Yankee experiencing knee problems this season, will not need off-season surgery. He plans to rest and build up strength in the knee for next season. We now return to your regularly scheduled Alex Rodriguez show. · (1) ·
Well, maybe just a bit. But that didn’t stop RAB fave Keith Law from posting his Top 60 Prospects for next year’s draft. I plan on getting into some draft stuff in a few weeks, but this’ll wet your tongue.
As a reminder, the Yanks have the 28th pick in the draft, and could still pick up an additional 7 picks if Pettitte, The Viz, Mo and A-Rod sign elsewhere. And yes, I think A-Rod will sign elsewhere. Don’t buy into Boras’ bullshit.
The A-Rod news is coming fast and furious right now. So let’s get to it.
First up is your and my favorite man in the stands, FoxSports’ own Kenny Rosenthal. In a recent piece, he writes that A-Rod supposedly cannot negotiate with the Yanks without agent Scott Boras because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
The Yankees will be in violation of baseball’s collective-bargaining agreement if they exclude agent Scott Boras from their negotiations with his client, Alex Rodriguez. “That clearly is a violation of the Basic Agreement,” Michael Weiner, the general counsel of the players’ union, told FOXSports.com on Wednesday.
“Once a player designates an agent, a club cannot refuse to meet with that agent.”
Well, that’s all well and good, except that I disagree. The CBA, available here as a PDF, reads as follows in Article IV:
If the Association has notified the Office of the Commissioner that a Player has designated a certified Player Agent or Agents to act on his behalf for the purposes described in this Article IV, no Club may negotiate or attempt to negotiate an individual salary and/or Special Covenants to be included in a Uniform Player’s Contract with any Player Agent(s) other than such Player Agent(s).
A team may not negotiate with another agent for the services of the player in question, but no where in the CBA does it say that the player is barred from cutting out the middle man and negotiating with the team himself. While I’m not the general counsel of the players’ union, my educating reading of the CBA tells me that what the Yankees want to do and what A-Rod wants to do is perfectly legal.
And yes, A-Rod wants to do it. In a rather shocking turn of events noted to me by loyal reader Patrick, A-Rod has issued a statement on his official site. It’s the first we’ve heard A-Rod talk since the whole opt-out debacle. And what does the soon-to-be MVP have to say?
After spending time with Cynthia and my family over these last few weeks, it became clear to me that I needed to make an attempt to engage the Yankees regarding my future with the organization.
Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs, I wanted the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with Yankees’ ownership. We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness.
As a result, I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message. I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation.
Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another, and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days.
So maybe A-Rod isn’t quite ready to go away yet. Stay tuned, folks. This ride just got interesting.
Update: A few of you have mentioned a recent John Sterling report on the WFAN. Let’s hold off on that one for now. We don’t want to get too carried away with the anonymous sources. It is, after all, John Sterling.
Update Again: Mark Feinsand at Blogging the Bombers reports that a deal is nearly done. We’re looking at 10 years and $275 million for A-Rod. This is all still based on anonymous sources.
MLB announced today that the Red Sox and A’s will open their season in Japan in March. When last we saw regular season games in Japan, the Yankees and the Devil Rays were attempting to face off in an opening series, and it was a disaster. Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi and others developed various illnesses, and the Yanks started the season 8-11 before shaking off the jet lag on April 27. You guys have fun with that, Boston. · (2) ·
Yesterday, when Joe outlined our thoughts on Mariano Rivera’s contract situation, I figured we had written everything that needed to be said on the issue. In an effort to exact some measure of juvenile revenge, Rivera was keeping the Yankees and their overly generous three-year, $45 million offer waiting for a few days. I thought Rivera would just sign the deal and let bygones be bygones.
So much for that.
Pigs may fly; the sun may rise in the West; and A-Rod may be open to the idea of a return to the Yanks. I guess Joel Sherman, George King and Mark Hale had some space to fill in The Post’s sports section. There’s just not much to say about a 2-4 Knicks team on a three-game losing streak. And I’m sure Scott Boras had absolutely nothing to do with a story designed to drum up interest in his client who hasn’t been flooded with $350-million offers yet.
Update by Joe: Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden offer a similar story.
Despite all of the back-and-forth posturing between the Yankees and A-Rod’ camp, the Daily News learned today that the two sides have been discussing a deal for the past few days to keep the two-time MVP in pinstripes, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The biggest catch? The Yankees don’t want agent Scott Boras involved in the negotiations.
A high-ranking Yankees source told the Daily News that the team is willing to bring Rodriguez back on a below-market contract, one that would make up for the $21 million subsidy from the Rangers that the Yanks lost when A-Rod opted out of the final three years of his contract.
In addition, the Yankees don’t want to deal with Boras, who has been Rodriguez’s agent since the slugger was 16 years old.
“We will not negotiate with Scott Boras,” a Yankees source said. “He cannot be in the room.”
Rodriguez apparently approached the Yankees through a third-party intermediary. “He went to them,” said the source.
It’s tough to turn away the best player in baseball, especially if he’s willing to come back at a discount.
I’ll (Joe) have more commentary on this if anything else substantial arises.
According to a report in Metro, a free paper in Canada, the Blue Jays are interested in both Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. This is one odd report. First, if the Jays want Roger Clemens and his overinflated salary, you guys have fun with that. Second, Pettitte has made it perfectly clear that he will pitch for the Yankees or not at all. Why the Blue Jays would even waste their time is beyond me. · (14) ·
That’s according to Tyler Kepner of the Times. Is anyone else a bit baffled as to why Mo hasn’t accepted yet? Does he think there’s some team willing to offer him four years at $55, $60 million?
Look, the game is up. We know Mo is crying about not getting a new contract back in the spring. Get over it. For a guy who is portrayed so reverently in Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Mo is acting like a teenager here. The Yankees have made a more than generous offer, which figures not to be topped by another bidder. What, does he think the Dodgers will outbid the Yanks just because Joe Torre is now the manager?
I’m honestly surprised the offer got this high. Three years, $40 million was an offer not likely to be topped. And now the Yankees upped the offer by $5 million in hopes of signing Mo before other teams could bid. Well, now that other teams can, the point of that $5 million is kind of moot.
What the Yankees should do, though they certainly won’t, is let Mo field offers from other teams. Hey, he wanted to test the market, right? So when teams are coming in with far less than three years, $45 million, the Yankees can say: “Mo, we’ll match your best offer. But you blew signing that three-year, $45 million deal. Just like we blew signing you cheaper back in Spring Training.”
After all, this should work both ways, right?