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Saturday, October 27, 2007
Sources: Yankees expected to make record-setting offer to A-Rod

By Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine

The New York Yankees have asked to meet with third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and if and when they get that meeting, league sources indicate the team is prepared to make him an offer that will exceed, in average salary, the $27 million per year that he is scheduled to make over the next three seasons -- and A-Rod would be in line to set yet another salary benchmark.

A-Rod Worth A Lot

Alex Rodriguez has an impressive career resume, which figures only to grow. Some of his career highlights:

• Youngest ever to hit 300 HR, 400 HR, 450 HR, 500 HR
• 6 straight 40-HR seasons; 10 straight 30-HR seasons
• 3 50-HR seasons
• 2 MVPs (2003 & 2005)

In addition, he's on the short list of players who have led baseball in home runs, RBIs and runs in the same season:

Player HR RBIs Runs
Alex Rodriguez, 2007 54 156 143
Roger Maris, 1961 61 142 132
Mickey Mantle, 1956 52 130 132
Johnny Mize, 1947 51 138 137
Ted Williams, 1942 36 137 141

The offer could be for something in the range of five years -- beyond the three years Rodriguez is already under contract for, from 2008-10 -- and perhaps $30 million a year. The highest per-workday salary earned to date is the $28 million Roger Clemens received, in prorated salary, for a little less than four months of work this season.

If the Yankees' extension offer is for something in the range of $150 million, over five years, then Rodriguez would be owed about $230 million over the next eight seasons.

It is unclear if the Yankees will get the meeting with the All-Star third baseman that they've requested. Rodriguez, 32, must inform the Yankees within 10 days of the conclusion of the World Series whether he will opt out of the last three years of his current contract. Yankees executives, from Hank Steinbrenner to team president Randy Levine to general manager Brian Cashman, have stated repeatedly that if Rodriguez opts out of the contract, they will not participate in any more bidding for the third baseman. If Rodriguez opts out of his current contract, the Yankees would lose $21.3 million in subsidy from the Texas Rangers, the team that signed Rodriguez to his current $252 million deal after the 2000 season.

Some executives are convinced that no other team will come close to the enormous extension offer the Yankees intend to make, and rival agents and executives are reading the steady stream of public negotiation rhetoric from agent Scott Boras as a bluff. But some officials cite Boras's history of taking his clients into free agency, and say they think Rodriguez will leave the Yankees.

Either way, it is the Yankees' intention to pay Rodriguez well, with a record-setting salary.

Rodriguez is expected to win the AL Hank Aaron award given to each league's best hitter as determined by radio and T.V. broadcasters. The award ceremony will be before Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday. A-Rod will not be on hand to accept it, however.

"He has a family matter," Boras said.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. The Associated Press contributed to this report.