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Manager, GM confirm they will listen

NEW YORK -- The Texas Rangers are willing to field trade
offers for star shortstop Alex Rodriguez, The New York Times
reported Wednesday.

"It would be less than honest for me to say we're not
listening," Rangers manager Buck Showalter told the newspaper.
"If people call you about a player, even if it's a player you love
the way we love Alex, you have to at least listen."

Especially because Rodriguez costs the Rangers so much.

He has seven years and $179 million remaining on the record $252
million contract he signed with Texas before the 2001 season. He
also has a no-trade clause, which he would have to waive before any
potential deal could be completed.

Rodriguez, 28, might agree to that for a chance to win soon. The
Rangers have finished last in the AL West for four straight
seasons.

At the general managers' meeting in Phoenix, Texas GM John Hart
made it clear that his team is not trying to move Rodriguez and
said the possibility of a deal was a long shot, The Times reported.

"He's our cornerstone player," Hart told the newspaper. "But
if the phone rings in this business, you pick up the phone and
listen."

Rodriguez suggested in late July that he would be willing to
accept a trade if the team doesn't improve, but later changed his
tone.

"The optimism is obvious. I hope that this winter we get a few
small pieces and keep going," Rodriguez said at the end of the
season. "We don't need a miracle. We don't need a total
facelift."

Perhaps the best all-around player in baseball, Rodriguez hit
.298 with 47 home runs and 118 RBIs last season and won a Gold
Glove for his defensive excellence. He's had at least 41 homers and
111 RBIs each of the past six years.