Hicks: 'We have to make decisions'

Updated: December 22, 2003, 3:18 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas owner Tom Hicks is ready for a final resolution after weeks of discussions about trading Alex Rodriguez to Boston.

If a deal to send the MVP shortstop to the Red Sox for outfielder Manny Ramirez isn't completed by 5 p.m. EST Tuesday, Hicks said Rodriguez will remain the Rangers' shortstop next season.

"This potential trade is very complicated and involves multiple parties," Hicks wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Sunday night. "From the Texas Rangers' perspective, we need finality so we can proceed with our offseason plans."

Hicks wrote that the Tuesday deadline "is a reasonable time frame for the various groups to make their decisions."

Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, said Hicks called him Sunday to inform him of the deadline for the trade of baseball's only $20 million-a-year players. A reigning MVP has never switched teams.

Red Sox owner John Henry didn't respond to an e-mail or telephone call, and team president Larry Lucchino declined comment in an e-mail.

If the deal isn't done by Tuesday, Hicks has told general manager John Hart to build toward next season with Rodriguez in the plans.

Hart, who didn't return phone messages Sunday night, had hoped to have the situation resolved before the winter meetings ended last Monday. That passed without a deal, as did commissioner Bud Selig's Thursday deadline for talks between Rodriguez and Boston.

Rodriguez's $252 million, 10-year contract has seven years and $179 million remaining.

During negotiations last week, the players' association said the agreement could be restructured but not reduced, and rejected Boston's proposal, which the union said would cut $28 million to $30 million.

Instead, the union said it would approve a change that would lower Rodriguez's contract by $12 million to $13 million in exchange for him getting the right to use Boston's logo and trademarks in marketing deals. In addition, he would be able to become a free agent after the 2005 season.

"The parties have $13 million from Alex that they know they have to work with. They didn't know that before last week. That should be a real benefit," Boras said. "I think we've done our work being able to define exactly what restructuring means for Alex and the Boston Red Sox."

Lucchino proclaimed the trade "dead" Thursday, blaming the players' association for not approving the steeper reduction. Texas also blamed the union, but Hart wasn't prepared to say talks were over.

Ramirez has five years and $97.5 million left on the $160 million, eight-year contract he signed the same day Rodriguez got his record deal.

If the deal goes through, the Red Sox presumably would then trade longtime shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, possibly to the Chicago White Sox.

In a story posted Sunday night on the Rangers' Web site, Hicks said Rodriguez has had "mixed feelings" about the proposed deal.

"Our position has been consistent since the beginning," Hicks said on the site. "We love Alex. He is the best in baseball, but we explored what could be a win-win opportunity for all involved. We only considered the opportunity because it would make us better faster, but we can still win with Alex. We are prepared to have him come back and be the leader in the clubhouse and on the field."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press