02/14/2004 11:23 PM ET
Yankees, Rangers talk A-Rod trade
Texas would receive Soriano, player to be named
By Mark Feinsand and Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- After a winter of heavy speculation that Alex Rodriguez would wind up playing for the Boston Red Sox, the reigning American League MVP may finally be traded after all -- to the New York Yankees.
|Alex Rodriguez talks to reporters in New York last month. (Kathy Willens/AP)
According to highly placed sources and published reports,
the Yankees and Texas Rangers have "an agreement in principle" that will bring Rodriguez, 28, to the Bronx in exchange for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a minor-league pitcher.
"It's about flexibility," Texas general manager John Hart told the Associated Press on Saturday night, addressing why the Rangers would make the deal. "We're trading the best player in the game and we're getting tremendous
The Yankees have not verified the report. But the general managers for both teams released statements earlier Saturday confirming trade talks were ongoing.
"Without going into specifics, I can acknowledge that trade discussions are taking place with the Texas Rangers," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said in a statement. "In fairness to all parties involved, I can't comment further at this time."
The Rangers also released a statement in which Hart confirmed that a Rodriguez trade was being discussed with the Yankees.
"We have continued to talk to the Yankees following initial discussions," said Hart in the statement. "There's nothing to report at this time. It's premature to talk about any potential transaction especially since our owner Tom Hicks has been reluctant to reopen this issue.
"Discussions about players are difficult and sensitive," said Hart. "From the Rangers standpoint, any deal would have to meet a lot of conditions and requirements in order to be accomplished."
Several Major League Baseball sources on Saturday said the deal could be finalized as early as Sunday. One source added that the transaction, which must be approved by MLB and the players union, has no substantial obstacles similar to those of the Red Sox-Rangers negotiations earlier this winter. It is believed that now only relatively minor final details remain to be worked out between the Rangers and Yankees.
"The deal is in the Commissioner's office," said Sandy Alderson, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations.
According to an MLB source, the Yankees would pay $112 million of Rodriguez's remaining salary, the Rangers would pay $40 million. Texas is also negotiating to pay the deferred money owed to Rodriguez, about $30 million, at a later date with a lower interest rate.
Yankees officials have been in closed-door meetings through much of the week at Yankee Stadium, as New York looks to fill the third-base void left by Aaron Boone's ACL injury. Newsday reports that Rodriguez, who wants to play for a winner, would be willing to move to third base, allowing Derek Jeter to remain at shortstop.
While the Red Sox-Rangers talks were played out through the media, the Yankees and Rangers have apparently tried to keep the latest conversations quiet, leaving some people out of the loop. Rodriguez, who was recently named the Rangers' captain, is believed to be unhappy that the latest discussions were leaked to the media.
The Rangers discussed an A-Rod-for-Manny Ramirez deal with the Red Sox for much of the winter, but the trade fell through when the MLB Players Association refused to approve it, as Rodriguez would have had to restructure his huge contract, decreasing its value in the process.
Soriano, 25, has posted back-to-back, 35 homer, 35 stolen base seasons, but his poor postseason was a cause for concern in New York. He is signed through this season, when he will make $5.4 million, but he remains under club control for two more seasons, becoming eligible for free agency after the 2006 campaign.
If a trade were to happen, it would leave the Yankees with a hole at second base, one that could be filled by the duo of Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo. As it currently stands, the Yankees are looking at those two players, along with Mike Lamb, Tyler Houston and Erick Almonte, as possibilities to play third.
Mark Feinsand and Jesse Sanchez are reporters for MLB.com. Barry M. Bloom, a national reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.