Money can buy happiness

By Maggie Cassidy
February 26, 2004

Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News

Just when it appeared that the New York Yankees might not be the best team in the American League’s Eastern Division, they trade for Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, arguably the best player in baseball.

In what appears to be the single biggest trade in baseball history since 1918 when the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Yankees get Rodriguez and $67,000,000 from the Rangers for Alfonso Soriano and a minor league player to be named later.

Rodriguez, who wanted out of Texas after three seasons, all of which the Rangers finished in last place, was rumored in late 2003 to be headed to Boston, for Manny Ramirez, a player the Red Sox have wanted to trade for some time. The addition of A-Rod would have meant that the Sox would then have traded shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Magglio Ordonez.

The deal with Boston was rejected by the Major League Player’s Association on the grounds that the total value of Rodriguez’s contract would have been significantly reduced and A-Rod seemed destined to spend another season with a team, and a manager in Buck Showalter, that didn’t want him around.

When World Series hero Aaron Boone injured his knee playing basketball in early January the Yankees needed a third baseman. After trading for another Ranger, Mike Lamb, the Yanks asked about A-Rod’s availability and the opportunity to bring Rodriguez back to New York, where he was born, became a reality.

While the Yankees payroll will go up to over $180,000,000 they will only pay A-Rod $16,000,000, which is less than they pay shortstop Derek Jeter, first baseman Jason Giambi and pitcher Kevin Brown.

In addition, the $16,000,000 is offset by the $8,500,000 they were going to pay Boone, the $5,400,000 they were going to pay Soriano and the $2,200,000 they were going to pay recently released minor league third baseman Drew Henson, who is going back to play pro football.

Rodriguez has agreed to play third base as part of the deal and Jeter, the Yankees captain, remains as its everyday shortstop. So what is the current relationship with A-Rod and Jeter? According to Sports, “Rodriguez acknowledged their friendship had deteriorated in recent years. Once best buddies, they kidded on the field and crossed paths on the dating scene; the new Yankees teammates have never been the same since A-Rod criticized Jeter’s skills and leadership in early 2001.”

The real losers in this deal are the Rangers, as they will have paid A-Rod over $120,000,000 for three years work. While he is clearly the best player in baseball, having a player of this stature did not guarantee the Ranger fans any more success.

Since the trade last Tuesday the Yankees have sold over 125,000 tickets along with numerous jerseys with A-Rod’s number 13 on the back.

With 50 days to go before these two teams meet, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be quite a summer in New York and in Boston.

Posted to the Web by: Mark Garlit

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Maggie Cassidy

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