Ah, yes, the wonders of 20-20 hindsight. Back in 2000, when A-Rod signed a 10-year, $250 million deal, Rangers owner Tom Hicks was widely derided as a total buffoon for offering that kind of money. He most certainly way; Hicks’ offer was about $100 million more than the next highest one. But with three years remaining on the deal, it looks like $25 million/year is going to be, in the through-the-looking glass world of MLB, a relative bargain. So much of a bargain, in fact, that A-Rod said yesterday that he was refusing the offer to negotiate a contract extension during the season, preferring to take an out-clause in his deal and become a free agent when this season ends.
Those with extra good memories — and close readers of Feeding the Monster, the NYT and Boston Globe bestseller (available now in paperback for only ten bucks — cheap!) will remember that it was exactly this type of out clause that Union Prez Gene Orza ridiculed as being worthless…and it was Orza’s stance (combined with Larry Lucchino’s volatility) that squashed the A-Rod to Boston deal.
I wrote about this same thing back before the season began; that post contained an excerpt from FTM that quoted from “The A-Rod Chronicles,” the book’s relevant chapter. I’ll reprint a paragragh of that here:
“The Red Sox and Rodriguez ended up working out a deal in which Rodriguez would cut approximately $4 million a year off the last seven years of his deal in return for some licensing rights and the ability to declare free agency at different points during the remaining years of his contract. When the two sides presented the deal to Orza, he was dumbfounded. No one had signed a contract for as much as $20 million in years, Orza said. The made the offer of free agency essentially worthless â€šÃ„Ã® there was no way Rodriguez would ever sign a more lucrative contract again. (emphasis added) Orza made a counter-proposal he said the union would be able to accept, in which the Red Sox would save a total of about $12 million instead of $28 million. The Red Sox initially rejected Orzaâ€šÃ„Ã´s figure…”
I’m on the record as calling the Players Association “full of crap,” “moronic,” and “power-hungry,” so I don’t think my feelings about Gene Orza and crew are all that opaque. But here is another instance where Orza et al were egregiously wrong; unfortunately, many of the players are so convinced everyone else is out to screw them it’s unlikely anything will ever change…at least for another couple of decades, when retired players start growing tumors out of their eyeballs and guys on the field wonder if the fight against effective drug testing was really worth it.
It’s also interesting that note that had Orza been a bit more prescient about the vagaries of the marketplace, the Sox would, in all likelihood, currently have A-Rod at short and Magglio Ordonez in left. Or, to put it another way, we’d have a guy with 14 HRs, 54 RBIs, and a .992 OPS batting third, a guy with 31 HRs, 87 RBIs, and a 1.083 OPS batting cleanup, and a guy with 13 HRs, 72 RBIs, and a 1.028 OPS hitting fifth. This is, of course, based on a whole mess of assumptions, including the re-signing of Magglio; lots else would have been different as well (Jon Lester, for example, wouldn’t be a member of the Red Sox organization; he was heading to Texas with Manny). But as much as I despise A-Rod — and I do despise A-Rod — that is an absolutely terrifying trio. (Suffice to say that, at least thus far this year, Papi would be the weak link.)
I haven’t been posted as much as usual…which means I haven’t been reminded everyone out there about my offer of free signed and personalized bookplates. Theyâ€šÃ„Ã´re really nice, and will be the icing on the cake for all of those copies of FTM you buy as gifts for the loved ones and beachgoers in your life. Don’t delay! Act today!