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arod1114.jpgMAJOR UPDATE (5:41 p.m.): Two updates in fact, both found via MLB Trade Rumors.
  1. A-Rod released an official statement saying that he has spoken to the Steinbrenner family, and will continue talks.
  2. As I speculated in the comments, A-Rod will have to fire Boras to keep him out of the negotiations. Otherwise he'd be breaking laws or rules or mores or something.
And two more updates (6:03 p.m.)
  1. Mark Feinsand says it's almost a done deal, 10 years/$275M.
  2. The guys are River Ave Blues take issue with the story above about cutting Boras out of the picture.
It looks like this may be more than a rumor, folks.

This story from the Daily News is chock-full of gossipy innuendo and anonymous sources, keep that in mind as you read on.

Apparently, according to the Bill Madden and Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have been holding super-secret negotiations with A-Rod to return to the Yankees in '08. Keep in mind, these negotiations have been happening through a third party. If you're worried about the Yankees "Go f*ck yourself," stance on A-Rod after he opted out, they're covering their bases in this article. Here are the terms under which the Yanks will negotiate with A-Rod:
  1. Scott Boras cannot be involved. He won't even be allowed in the room.
  2. A-Rod has to come back at a discounted rate (they throw $275M/10 years out as a number). The contract has to make up for the $21M they lost from the Rangers when he opted out.
OK, these stipulations make sense from the team's point of view. The first puts all the blame on Boras for the shameful manner in which A-Rod opted out in the first place. It doesn't really explain why A-Rod didn't return phone calls from Hank & Hal, Brian Cashman, Robinson Cano, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter or Joe Torre. Maybe they'll say Boras stole his cell phone or something.

The second stipulation further saves face for the Bombers, should they bring him back. The cold, hard business fact of the matter was the Yankees could afford to spend more on an extension because of the $21M they were in line to receive from the Rangers as part of the trade they made for A-Rod in the first place. If that money comes out of A-Rod's end, there's no business reason not to deal with him.

Here's the way I see this rumor, and I'm not going any further with this thing than calling it a rumor. The Yanks are floating the idea out there through an unscrupulous journalist who loves getting A-Rod in his headlines. I highly doubt negotiations have been ongoing. I'm sure A-Rod and Boras want the Yankees to enter back into the equation, and the Yankees brass is looking for a way to do so without being used. The last thing they want to do is open negotiations and then be used merely to drive A-Rod's asking price up.

As for leaving Boras out of the negotiations, I'm not even sure that's legal. It's certainly not ethical. I hate Boras as much as the next guy, but you can't force a guy to negotiate without representation. Then again, if he doesn't want to negotiate without Boras fine, he can walk.

Here's the rub. This rumor is too good to be true. If this were the case, it would be a huge win for everyone involved (except Boras). A-Rod could come back to the Bronx as the poor, misunderstood and misled superstar whose heart always belonged in the Bronx. He could point the finger at his evil agent, lay all the blame on him, sign a monster contract and open the season with the fans on his side. The Yankees will have brought their best player back without losing face OR entering into a bidding war for him.

Three more points. This rumor could also have sprung from the other side for a couple of reasons. The more insidious being, Boras wants a starting point when he's shopping A-Rod around. Now he can go to the other teams and say, "If you can't top $275M for 10 years, Alex is going back to New York." The second possible reason is Boras has found out that no one wants to fork over $300M+ for A-Rod's services. Maybe the deal the Yanks were going to offer was the best he could've done for his client and now he has no choice but to go crawling back to them. Neither scenario is really that crazy, if you think about it.

Two: If this does happen. If the Yanks do wind up signing A-Rod, it's going to have ramifications. Jorge Posada has signed already, for all intents and purposes. The Yanks have a monster offer out there for Mariano Rivera, and I'm pretty sure he's going to accept after a little more posturing. That's two "Type A" free agents already signed by the Yankees. If A-Rod comes back, that's three. Teams are only allowed to sign three "Type A" free agents per season. That means if the door opens for A-Rod it slams shut on Andy Pettitte. [Thanks to research from commenter Scott Brosius Would Make A Good Neighbor, this whole paragraph can be ignored. Here's the link, the Yanks would still be able to sign all of their free agents.]

Finally, if Boras is cut out of the picture, how can he effectively remain a super agent. What's stopping all the other teams (especially those who have been burned by him in the past) from saying they won't negotiate with his clients unless he isn't involved? This could be disastrous for Boras, and I don't see any way he lets it go down this way. On a personal note, I'd love to see Boras professionally emasculated and I think there are about 32 GMs and millions of fans out there who would agree with me.

UPDATE: Jack Cobra just sent me the following question:
If A-Rod goes back to the Yanks without the help of Boras, and for a reasonable contract, how will your opinion of him change (if at all)?
I basically said the way he opted out is always going to be in the back of my mind, but the bottom line is I just want the Yanks to win. What do you guys think? Can all be forgiven? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
by Brian on Nov 14 2007
Tags: A-Rod |