I was a little surprised with the timing of Alex Rodriguez's decision to opt out of his Yankees contract to become a free agent.
Agent Scott Boras is almost like a genius in the way he gets money for his clients. If I was a star player, I would probably want him to represent me. He has magical way of getting the big bucks, though he obviously has great players, so all the cards are on his side.
I feel Boras and A-Rod might have been annoyed with the Yankees stance, saying they would not negotiate if he didn't sign before opting out of his deal. The Yankees have made it clear they wanted no involvement with him once he declared he was opting out of his contract. It is over, and that played a part in all of this.
The bottom line is simple: show me the money, baby!
I believe some team will put a 10-year deal on the table worth $300 million. That is the number that Boras and A-Rod. appear to want. I look at this as a poker game, with high stakes. The Yankees now have their backs against the wall, and based on comments by Hank Steinbrenner, it looks like the Yankees are saying farewell to their star third baseman.
The door is still a little bit open. Is Boras bluffing? Does he have another team ready to step up and make that $300 million offer? Maybe he put the Yankees against the wall to get the dollars to climb even more? The Yankee offer was reportedly to extend the current deal to go over eight years. What would have happened if they added a few more years to save face? Then he could have made a run at Barry Bonds' home run record in pinstripes.
I think there will be some bidders coming into the picture. Maybe there have been franchises showing an interest to Boras already, though that would be tampering. Would it be a total shock if the Boston Red Sox wanted to put A-Rod at shortstop for the next decade? Perhaps he could replace free agent Mike Lowell at third? Then again, how much would Boston gain by that move, and would it really be worth the dollars involved as this team has great chemistry and is a winner! Boston has won two World Series titles in four years without him and his presence would probably add more pressure.
I feel the Cubs will be a serious player in this race. I know, the team has spent a lot of money on stars like Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Ted Lilly in recent years, but this is a franchise dying to win it all. It is almost a century since the Cubbies won it all. I know the relationship with Lou Piniella is a strong one, and he would be an ideal shortstop playing with Ramirez on the left side of the infield.
Think about the excitement of being in ChiTown, the energy at Wrigley Field, the fun of taking the Cubs to the promised land! That is how you become the icon of icons, baby!
For the record, it was annoying for Boras to make the announcement during the World Series. I felt it was poor timing, there was no place for that to come there. It was a grandstand play and an embarrassment to baseball. They waited this long, why did it have to come then. It was to get more PR and take away some of the thunder of the Red Sox. It became an immediate conversation piece, and that seemed to be the plan of Boras.
Now the sweepstakes is under way. Let the games begin this off-season.