A-Rod not thinking about opting out of deal now

Updated: February 7, 2007, 1:38 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez sidestepped whether he plans to opt out of his record contract with the New York Yankees and become a free agent following this season.

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J.D. Drew, like A-Rod a client of agent Scott Boras, used an opt-out clause to leave the Los Angeles Dodgers for a $70 million, five-year contract with the Boston Red Sox.

During a promotional appearance Tuesday, Rodriguez was asked what he thought about Drew's decision.

"I didn't follow the J.D. Drew situation," Rodriguez said. "My situation and my only goal is to win a world championship, and I'm going to take it day to day. And that's about it."

Rodriguez is owed a $23 million salary this year, including $1 million deferred without interest until June 30, 2011, and then is due $24 million in each of the final three seasons of his record $252 million, 10-year contract.

Texas, which traded A-Rod to the Yankees after the 2003 season, is partially funding the deal, paying the Yankees $7.1 million this year, $8.1 million in 2008, $7.1 million in 2009 and $6.1 million in 2010.

"I think when you put things like that in the contract seven years ago, the intent was that it would give the player a choice, knowing full well the player may not use the provision, and also understanding, too, it gives him an option to consider," Boras said in a telephone interview. "At this point in time, Alex has certainly reflected to me he's very happy in New York. We have not talked about anything like that and probably will not until the season is completed."

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Boras left the impression that Rodriguez could get more than the $72 million he is owed in the final three seasons of his deal.

"There's a class of player that has not been fitted into this new market," Boras said. "Obviously when Alex's contract was done, the revenues of the game were around $3 billion. Now they are around $6 billion. The elite position player has not been really graded in this new revenue stream we've seen."

Rodriguez has gone through turbulent times with the Yankees. While he won the AL MVP award for the second time in 2005, he is 4-for-41 (.098) without an RBI in his last 12 postseason games dating to 2004.

He was dropped to eighth in the batting order for the first time in a decade as the Yankees were eliminated in Game 4 of the first round against Detroit last season.

Rodriguez doesn't see a need to speak to manager Joe Torre about being dropped that low.

"I'm an employee. If Joe says take out the garbage, I take out the garbage," he said. "There's no attitude. That's just the bottom line. I've very old school when it comes to that. And I've never been a person that ever questions my authority. ... The first thing I've got to look at in the mirror is me."

Rodriguez is pleased with the offseason moves made by general manager Brian Cashman.

"I'm excited to play with Andy Pettitte and I'm also excited about what Brian Cashman has done, kind of gotten us a little bit younger, a little bit more athletic," Rodriguez said. "I'm also excited to see some of these young pitchers. We haven't had this type of spring, where we're actually curious about what these young pitchers are going to be all about."

He cited the example of the Tigers, who won the AL pennant behind hard-throwing pitchers Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya.

"Without those two guys, they obviously don't get into the postseason and almost win a World Series," Rodriguez said.

As he prepares for the start of spring training this month, his goal is to get a World Series ring for the first time.

"My burden has always been the same since I was 18," he said. "The only reason I play the game is to win a world championship. That hasn't changed. From year to year it hasn't changed."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press