This should silence a few more of the doubters out there, but I won’t breathe easy until A-Rod and the Yanks are holding the requisite press conference.

From ESPN:

Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees have agreed to the outline of a $275 million, 10-year contract, a deal that potentially would allow him to earn millions more if he sets the career home run record.

The amount of the guaranteed money was revealed by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been finalized. A-Rod met Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., with the Steinbrenner brothers but the parameters of the deal were set in place last weekend.

All that’s left is for the Yanks to draft the agreement, and, yes, Scott Boras will be involved there. I guess I’ll have to move A-Rod back into the “Current Yankees” category.

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  • Bonds indicted
    By

    From the AP:

    Barry Bonds was indicted Thursday on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, the culmination of a four-year federal investigation into whether he lied under oath to a grand jury looking into steroid use by elite athletes.

    Update: KTVU has more. Bonds is facing a five-count indictment – four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. A free agent right now, Bonds probably won’t see too many offers heading his way this winter. · (9) ·

At a time when Alex Rodriguez is looking to bank some serious dough, Derek Jeter might be out some. The State of New York is seeking back taxes — possibly totaling over a million dollars — from the Yankees captain from the years 2001 through 2003. But it’s not that Jeter outright didn’t pay his taxes. It’s that he paid them to Florida, where he claimed residence, not New York, where he was a prominent figure for at least six and a half months of the year.

Lawyers for Jeter, who has an off-season home in Tampa, Fla., dispute the claims that Jeter “immersed himself in the New York community” and made “numerous statements professing his love for New York” during the disputed period, according to documents published this week on a state Web site monitored by FOXNews.com.

I’m not quite sure how his lawyers are disputing his immersion in the New York community. I’m also not sure how “numerous statements professing his love” for the city would denote his residence in it. He has claimed residence in Florida since 1994, when he spent the majority of his season with the Tampa Yankees.

That the State is seeking taxes from 2001 is significant for two reasons. First is his ten-year, $189 million contract which was signed that winter. Second is his $13 million purchase of an apartment in Trump Towers.

Honestly, I’m not sure how the law works in these instances of dual residency. If anyone can shed some light, please do so in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. All I know is that no one from the Jeter party is commenting on this case. It’s probably for the best, at least from a public relations standpoint.

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Just kidding. It’s going to be A-Rod Field.

In all seriousness, the Yanks are prepared to bend some of their internal contract rules for A-Rod. According to Tyler Kepner, the Yanks and A-Rod are working out some incentives that would kick in if and when the slugger passes the all-time home run mark. Kepner reports:

The sides are discussing a marketing plan in which Rodriguez, 32, would benefit financially as he passes hallowed home run benchmarks in the coming seasons. The Yankees typically do not offer bonuses to players who make the All-Star team or win postseason awards. But Rodriguez’s pursuit of the career home run record would bring increased revenue to the Yankees, and the team is willing to share some of it with Rodriguez who has 518 home runs and is already 17th on the career list.

Considering that baseball is very much a business, this is fair practice on behalf of the Yankees and a move of which Scott Boras probably approves.

When all is said and done, if A-Rod actually does return to the Yanks and signs a ten-year deal, they won’t name the new stadium after him. But it will be known, for better or worse, as the House That A-Rod Built.

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As A-Rod and the Yanks work toward a seemingly surreal contract, the Yanks have kept busy on a few other contract fronts. Let’s check in.

Mike Lowell

According to reports out of Boston, the Yanks are one of four teams to offer Mike Lowell a four-year contract somewhere in the $55-60 million range. The Yanks’ offer comes with a caveat: They want Lowell, a career third baseman, to move across the diamond and man first base.

I don’t see this move going any further than it already has. As I noted two weeks ago, Lowell isn’t a great fit for the Yanks, and he doesn’t want to play first. He’ll have to decide if he wants that fourth year badly enough to leave Boston for Anaheim, Atlanta or St. Louis. My money is on Lowell’s returning to the Red Sox, especially with A-Rod seemingly sticking around the Bronx.

As a side note, clearly the Yankees do not envision much for Jason Giambi in 2008. Hideki Matsui is the presumptive DH, and the team is actively looking for a first baseman. While I don’t see the Yanks landing much if they trade Giambi, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s shipped out for a few fringe prospects just so the Yanks have some roster flexibility.

Mariano Rivera

This is the contract that has much more of an impact on the Yankees. Rivera still hasn’t put pen to the paper on the Yanks’ offer of three years and $45 million. Now, as commenter Bob Sage pointed out, Sweeny Murti was on the FAN this morning claiming Rivera, 38, will sign a three-year, $52-million deal or a four-year, $60-million deal.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Joe Torre said the Dodgers will welcome Rivera. Add on the requisite “if the price is right” clause, and you’ve got yourself a deal. No way, however, will the Dodgers offer Rivera the $15-$17.3 a year Rivera wants, and neither should the Yankees.

I don’t know what’s going to happen or what is happening here. Rivera, for some reason, is playing hard to get despite having what many would consider a deal-sealing argument on the table. For someone supposedly so humble and altruistic, he sure is being a ruthless businessman, and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s too ruthless for his own good.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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  • I’m just sayin’…
    By

    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) ·

  • A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod, Hideki
    By

    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.

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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.

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