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Text message from agent ended A-Rod's Yankees stint

10/31/2007 - MLB Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees + more

NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman fell asleep Sunday night reading a
story to his son, Teddy. His cell phone, in another room, kept
ringing, mostly calls from reporters trying to reach the
New York Yankees general manager for his reaction to Alex Rodriguez opting
out of his contract.

Cashman's wife woke him up at about 10:30 and he checked his
messages.

"At 9:32 there was a voice mail from Scott Boras to call him.
He wanted to give me a heads up on something, was the message,"
Cashman said Tuesday. "And then at 9:42 was a text message saying
he was opting out."

Cashman wished he had gotten the chance to speak with
Rodriguez's agent.

"If there was no public announcement from Scott Boras on that,
you could still always unring the bell because from the public
standpoint, the bell was never rung," Cashman said during a
conference call. "I could have said, 'Hey, listen, you sure you
want to do this? Let's talk, you know, you take another crack at an
opportunity -- can you please, you know, give us an opportunity to
sit down and have the dialogue?'"

That conversation never took place.

"Obviously the message was sent, and it was sent loud and
clear, you know, through Scott Boras when he announced it the way
he did, that the bell couldn't be unrung after that," Cashman
said.

New York had said it wouldn't negotiate with Rodriguez if he
opted out, because it would lose the subsidy it gained from the
Texas Rangers when the Yankees acquired him in a 2004 trade. That's
why Cashman would have preferred a chance to meet with Rodriguez
and present him with an extension offer.

"I'll always regret," Cashman said, "that we didn't get that
opportunity to do so."

Rodriguez had until the 10th day following the World Series to
opt out of the final three seasons of his record $252 million,
10-year contract. Boras said Rodriguez didn't want to hear an
extension offer before Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte or
Jorge Posada decided whether they would remain with the team.

"We instructed the Yankees that we would be more than happy to
meet with them once we knew more information about the ownership's
decision about the composition of the team and that it was not
possible to make any decision within a 10-day period," Boras said.

Boras said he was concerned because of the team's new leadership
structure, with Hal and Hank Steinbrenner taking more of an active
role and owner George Steinbrenner receding.

"Particularly when the owners mention transition and
patience," he said.

Rodriguez's contract called for him to receive $24 million from
the Yankees in each of the next three seasons, money offset by
$21.3 million the Rangers agreed to pay as part of the trade. In
addition, Rodriguez's contract called for $3 million from the
Rangers in deferred money in each of the next three years.

There could be a dispute about those payments. At the time of
the trade, all $36 million of the original deferred money in
Rodriguez's contract was converted to an assignment bonus.

"As for the deferred payments, those are specific to 2001-2007
-- no payments are due relative to the years he opted out of,"
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in an e-mail to The
Associated Press.

Cashman said the Yankees' subsidy from Texas was $30 million,
reinforcing that notion.

However, Boras has said for several years that the entire $36
million in the assignment bonus was guaranteed.

No matter where he goes, it appears A-Rod will be in the news.
At a dinner for The Boys' Club of New York, Hall of Fame third
baseman Brooks Robinson was asked about Rodriguez, who switched
from shortstop to third when he joined the Yankees.

"I would say A-Rod's my favorite to watch," Robinson said. "I
enjoy watching him, just the way he plays the game."

Robinson didn't blame Rodriguez for the timing of the
announcement, during Game 4 of the World Series.

"I've met with A-Rod a few times and I really like the guy. To
me he's a class act. I'm sure he didn't go around saying, 'Hey, I'm
going to opt out,'" Robinson said. "Somehow it got out and
whether it was supposed to or not that's just the way it is. But
his career won't be complete until he gets in a World Series. I
mean a World Series is so important. As a kid, at least me, that's
all I ever dreamed about."