Rodriguez finalizes $275M deal with Yankees

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez set another record for baseball's
highest contract, finalizing his $275 million, 10-year agreement
with the New York Yankees on Thursday.

A-Rod set the previous mark with his $252 million, 10-year deal
with Texas in December 2000. Traded to the Yankees in 2004, he
opted out of that contract Oct. 28, during the final game of the
World Series.

Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said New York
would not negotiate further with Rodriguez because his decision
eliminated the $21.3 million subsidy the Yankees were to receive
from Texas from 2008-10, a figure negotiated at the time of the trade.

But Rodriguez then approached the Yankees through a managing
director at Goldman Sachs and negotiated his new deal in early
November without agent Scott Boras.

"It seemed like the whole thing was a roller-coaster. It was
very emotional," Rodriguez said on a conference call. "All along,
I knew I wanted to be a Yankee."

Rodriguez said opting out was "a mistake that was handled
extremely poorly."

"It was a huge debacle," he said, calling the timing
"distasteful and very inappropriate."

A-Rod said Boras gave him the impression the Yankees weren't
interested in bringing him back, which surprised him.

"Our goals were not aligned," Rodriguez said. "It felt funny
to me."

He said he and Boras agreed the slugger would opt out of his
deal, but Rodriguez thought the move would be revealed after the
World Series.

"I made mistakes. I've got to look in the mirror. If I had to
do it again, I would've called Hank from Day 1 and negotiated
myself," Rodriguez said.

But he soon called Steinbrenner.

"If he hung up on me, I wouldn't have been surprised. I thought
my career was over with the Yankees," Rodriguez said.

He said once he did get in touch with Steinbrenner and his
brother Hal, an executive vice president with the Yankees, it
didn't take long to reach an agreement.

"Within two conversations we got a deal done," Rodriguez said.

His new contract allows A-Rod to earn $30 million more for achieving
historic milestones. He is 18th on the career list with 518 homers,
244 shy of Barry Bonds' record.

Rodriguez won his third AL Most Valuable Player award last month
after hitting .314 with 54 homers and 156 RBIs.

"I have a lot to prove in New York," said Rodriguez, who has
never reached the World Series. "I think the criticism is what
comes with being in New York."

A-Rod gets a $10 million signing bonus, of which $2 million is
payable upon approval, $1 million each Jan. 15 from 2009-13 and $3
million on Jan. 15, 2014.

Rodriguez receives salaries of $27 million next year, $32
million in 2009 and 2010, $31 million in 2011, $29 million in 2012,
$28 million in 2013, $25 million in 2014, $21 million in 2015 and
$20 million in each of the final two years.

Rodriguez could receive an additional $6 million each for five
milestones that the team designates as historic achievements. They
are contemplated to be tying the home-run levels of Willie Mays
(660), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds, and breaking
Bonds' major league record.

Under the deal he opted out of, A-Rod earned $185.45 million
over seven years.