Boras' announcement is no surprise
A-Rod opts out of contract with Yankees to pursue free agency
If you were surprised by the announcement on Sunday evening that Alex Rodriguez will opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees, you don't know his agent, Scott Boras.
Major League teams are discouraged -- if not outright restricted -- from making announcements during the course of the World Series, but Boras has his own set of rules in these types of matters.
The Commissioner's Office doesn't want announcements being made that could distract from the attention on the World Series, but here was Boras stepping on the media stage to put A-Rod and his contract situation front and center.
As it turned out, the announcement by Boras -- at least as first reported by SI.com and delivered on FOX during the eighth inning of Sunday night's nationally televised game -- just beat the final curtain dropping on the Colorado Rockies and the 2007 baseball season.
The Yankees have said time and again that if A-Rod opts out of his contract with three years remaining, they will not attempt to resign him.
The Yankees had expressed a desire to extend Rodriguez's contract and hoped to do so in a 10-day period that started with the conclusion of the World Series.
If the Yankees could have struck a deal with Rodriguez on a contract extension before he took the action to opt out, they could have retained a clause that has the Texas Rangers paying $21.3 million toward his salary over the next three seasons.
Boras was in no mood to do a dance or a negotiation with the Yankees for 10 days during a time when the team would have the exclusive right to do a deal with Rodriguez.
That simply isn't Boras' style. He doesn't do quick deals, even if it is with the Yankees, and he doesn't do deals until he brings other teams into the mix to drive up the price.
The Yankees have taken a rather surprising public position for some time by saying if A-Rod opts out they would not attempt to resign him.
I use the word surprising because there was no real reason for the Yankees to take this position in a public forum. They now find themselves in a position to have to back off their statements or to say goodbye to A-Rod.
And are the Yankees really willing to close the door on Rodriguez at a time when the Boston Red Sox are dripping wet with champagne after celebrating their second World Championship in four seasons?
In Rodriguez, the Yankees have a player who was the biggest part of their offense with a Major League-best 54 homers and 156 RBIs. His performance likely will earn him a third American League MVP award.
As a former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I haven't usually found myself agreeing with Boras on points in a negotiation but the agent did strike a reasonable view in A-Rod's case as related to the other free agents on the Yankees.
Boras said he couldn't understand the Yankees' position of not wanting to negotiate with A-Rod once he opts out in that the team has made it clear it will negotiate with catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera as free agents even if these players reach a point where they can talk to other interested teams.
Sure, the Yankees lose the $21.3 million that Texas covers under the current contract with Rodriguez but Boras says the team knew the details of the contract when they acquired A-Rod in a trade.
All of this comes down to a case where the Yankees were attempting to keep the dollars from Texas as part of a deal and Boras knew he could never get top dollar for A-Rod without getting other teams in the competition.
Rodriguez thus walks away from the final three years on his contract with a payoff of $72 million remaining. This was part of the 10-year, $252 million contract that Boras had negotiated with Texas.
Even though the Yankees have taken the position that they will not negotiate with Rodriguez now that his agent has said he has exercised the opt-out clause, you can be assured Boras won't close any doors leading back to Yankee Stadium.
Boras, as always, will make the best deal possible for his player. And that deal probably will surpass the last 10-year contract that Rodriguez signed.
It had to be a tough night for the Yankees and their fans when the Red Sox won the World Series on Sunday evening and that came with the Boras-produced news that Rodriguez had opted out of his contract.
What could be worse than that? How about A-Rod signing with the Red Sox?
Fred Claire was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1969-98, serving the team as executive vice president and general manager. His book, Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue, was published by SportsPublishingLLC. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.