Archive for Monday, February 16, 2004

Players’ union approves A-Rod trade

Selig expected to endorse All-Star’s move from Texas to New York today

February 16, 2004


— Alex Rodriguez is one step from putting on the pinstripes.

The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers finalized the terms of their shocking trade Sunday, and the players' association approved the deal for the American League MVP.

All that remains is for baseball commissioner Bud Selig to give his OK, which the teams expect today. The Yankees planned a Tuesday news conference in New York to introduce the newest prize in their collection of multimillionaire All-Stars.

Texas will pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez's record $252 million, 10-year contract and will get All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named.

The Rangers will wind up paying $140 million for three seasons with Rodriguez, an average of $46.7 million annually for three last-place finishes in the AL West. The Yankees will owe him $112 million over seven years.

Baseball's big spenders will raise their payroll to about $190 million.

"The disparity is not healthy for the sport," Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo said. "But everyone runs their team the way they see fit, and they did it by the rules."

Rodriguez will move from shortstop, a position where he has been a seven-time All-Star, to third base, where he will replace injured Aaron Boone. The Yankees will keep their captain, Derek Jeter, at shortstop.

The Yankees will pay Rodriguez $15 million in each of the next three seasons, $16 million each in 2007 and 2008, $17 million in 2009 and $18 million in 2010. In each of the first four years, $1 million would be deferred without interest, to be paid in 2011.

The trade calls for Texas to pay $43 million of Rodriguez's salary over the remaining seven years: $3 million in 2004, $6 million each in 2005, 2006 and 2010, $7 million apiece in 2007 and 2009 and $8 million in 2008. The Rangers will pay the $24 million remaining in deferred money from the original contract, with the interest rate lowered from 3 percent to 1.75 percent.

All the deferred money owed by Texas -- $36 million, including salaries from 2001-03 -- will be converted to an assignment bonus, which makes the money guaranteed against a strike or lockout. The payout schedule will be pushed back to 2016-25 from 2011-20.

In exchange for the alterations, which devalue the present-day value of the contract by $5 million, Rodriguez will receive a hotel suite on road trips and have the right to link his Web site to the Yankees' site.

New York will open the season with four of baseball's eight $100 million players. When the Yankees' full roster reports to Tampa, Fla., next weekend for spring training, there will be 17 All-Stars with a total of 64 All-Star appearances. Rodriguez and first baseman Jason Giambi are both MVP winners.

Throw in Jeter, and the Yankees will have an infield whose contracts total $561 million -- and that doesn't include second base.

"You knew some time before or during spring training that they were going to go out and help themselves, and help themselves a lot," said Tampa Bay manager and former Yankee Lou Piniella, whose team is likely to have the lowest payroll in the majors. "They always do."

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