Frustrated A-Rod tired of losing with Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Frustrated by the constant losing, Alex Rodriguez is willing to consider being traded or reworking his 10-year, $252 million contract.
"If the Rangers found they could be better off without me, whether now or a year or two down the road, I'd be willing to sit down and talk,'' Rodriguez said before Texas' game against Boston on Wednesday night.
Rodriguez had never before indicated publicly that he would consider such a move.
The All-Star shortstop is in the third year of the record contract given to him by owner Tom Hicks. The Rangers, meanwhile, are headed for their fourth straight last-place finish in the AL West and have committed to a youth movement.
"I'd look at any options," he said. "I would redo my deal and make it best for our owner and for everyone."
Added Rodriguez: "When I signed here, I thought we'd make a hard turn toward improvement. Obviously, we're in a very tough division. I want what's best for Mr. Hicks, if it were down to the Rangers improving or me being happy.''
Going into Wednesday's game, Rodriguez was hitting .291 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI. He led the majors with 57 homers and 142 RBI last season.
Rangers general manager John Hart said he was surprised by Rodriguez's comments but hadn't had time to speak to the star about them.
"It's hard for me to respond,'' Hart said. "Alex is a foundation piece. It would be unfair for me to comment on that at this moment. At this juncture right now, we're not even thinking about that.''
Hicks often refers to the Rangers as "A-Rod's team'' and said the team isn't talking about trading Rodriguez.
"He is an asset and we are not interested in considering any kind of trade nor does he want to be traded,'' Hicks said Wednesday night. "Alex is fully on board with building our team and our plan.''
Rodriguez turned 28 on Sunday, and started his third straight All-Star Game earlier this month. He was also an All-Star from 1996-98 while in Seattle and missed the 2000 game because of an injury.
Despite Rodriguez's personal accolades and him playing in all 431 games since arriving, the Rangers have remained in last place.
"It's just something that, being my third year here, you want to see improvement, and I don't know if we have improved over three years,'' Rodriguez said. "It may be a year or two down the road. And obviously, I don't want to be the one that handicaps this team.''
At the same time, Rodriguez said he didn't feel like his contract was a liability to the team.
The Rangers were 43-63 and 21 games behind AL West-leading Seattle.
"This has frustrated everybody,'' Rodriguez said. "Losing is something you never want to get used to. At 28, I'm very young. I want to see improvement, and I'm not happy.''
In addition to leading the majors in homers and RBI last season, Rodriguez won his first Gold Glove. He finished second to Oakland's Miguel Tejada in the AL MVP voting.
Rodriguez hit .309 with 109 homers and 277 RBI in his first two seasons, the homers being the most ever by an AL player in consecutive seasons. And he's played all 108 games this season despite a herniated disc in his neck that forced him to miss part of spring training.
Rodriguez said the injury and the losing haven't diminished his play.
"I think my game has been better than ever, considering the pain I've played with,'' he said.
The Rangers previously traded outfielders Ruben Sierra and Carl Everett, along with closer Ugueth Urbina, getting prospects in return in each of those deals. Rookie outfielder Ryan Ludwick was also traded.
Two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez, who is on the disabled list with a strained right calf, used his no-trade clause to block out a deal Texas had reached with Montreal. Hart indicated Wednesday that there was still a possibility of Gonzalez being moved before Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press