Cashman: Yankees won't sweeten pot to retain A-Rod

Updated: March 22, 2007, 12:07 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees don't intend to offer Alex Rodriguez a contract extension, leaving him the option of opting out of his deal after the season and becoming a free agent.

Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez

"Alex has a significant contract. The most significant in baseball history," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. "He has a decision to make. It's in his contract. It's a right he's earned."

Rodriguez has four seasons left in the record $252 million, 10-year agreement he signed with Texas before the 2001 season. He is owed $27 million in each of the final three seasons -- with the Yankees responsible for $50.7 million and the Rangers owing $30.3 million, including $9 million in deferred money.

Under the terms of the deal, Rodriguez can terminate it after this season. He also can stay for 2008 and have the right to opt out of the final two seasons if the Yankees don't boost his salary to $32 million annually for the final two years.

"He's under contract; he can opt out of it if he wants," Cashman said in a telephone interview with The New York Times on Wednesday. "That's really his decision. It has nothing to do with us. There's nothing we can do about it. It's something he negotiated. If it becomes a distraction, it's because it's part of his deal. He controls that and no one else."

"He can opt out of it if he wants. That's really his decision. It has nothing to do with us. There's nothing we can do about it."
--Brian Cashman

Cashman confirmed the decision first reported on Sports Illustrated's Web site that the team had no plans of sweetening Rodriguez's deal in an effort to keep him on the team.

"It's the same thing with Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and all other guys," Cashman told the paper. "He's got a significant contract he's earned, and we hope he stays."

Early last week, Rodriguez told reporters that he wanted "100 percent to stay in New York. Period." In an interview earlier last week on WFAN radio's Mike and the Mad Dog program, Rodriguez indicated the fans reaction this season could be a determining factor.

"It's a do or die situation," he said on WFAN. "Either New York is going to kick me out of New York this year, say, 'I've had enough of this guy, get him the hell out of here,' and we have an option. Or New York is going to say, 'Hey, we won a world championship, you had a big year, you were a part of it and we want you back.'

"You never want to feel that you're holding a team hostage," Rodriguez said. "I want to be in New York. This is the place I want to finish my career. That's it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.