11/19/07 5:34 PM ET
A-Rod stays mum about contract
2007 AL MVP says he'll speak about his future at later time
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Speaking on a conference call with reporters on Monday, Rodriguez declined to comment in specifics about his new contract with the Yankees, the framework of which will pay the All-Star a reported $275 million over the next 10 seasons.
As he did in an interview granted to MLB.com over the weekend, Rodriguez asked for patience while addressing his third AL MVP Award -- his second since joining the Yankees. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Rodriguez said that he did not expect to be able to discuss his contractual situation until next week.
"It is what it is right now," Rodriguez said. "I'm very happy about the way I played on the field this year, and I'm happy about the way things came together with all my teammates this year. I'm happy about my relationship with the New York Yankees fans.
"Everything else, I would love to talk about, and when the time is right, I will. I think people and my family are going to feel much better once I say what I have to say."
Rodriguez's four-year stay in New York appeared to have ended during Game 4 of the World Series, when agent Scott Boras informed the Yankees that A-Rod would opt out and forfeit the remaining three years and $81 million on his contract to become a free agent.
The Yankees held firm on their long-stated insistence that they would not pursue Rodriguez on the open market, but in an unforeseen development, A-Rod approached the Yankees personally to reopen the lines of communication.
"I felt I didn't want to go anywhere," Rodriguez said. "I said it again in Spring Training, I said it in the middle of the season and I said it at the end of the year. My feeling about New York has never changed. It would be a great place to finish your career."
Accepting advice from numerous parties, including legendary investor Warren Buffett and common friends at Goldman Sachs, Rodriguez and his wife, Cynthia, met with Hank and Hal Steinbrenner last week, creating new opportunities in New York that appeared to end on the night the Red Sox were crowned world champions.
"I'm very excited about the future," Rodriguez said. "All I can tell you is that the discussions went really well with my wife and the Steinbrenner family last week. ... When you mix championships and all-time records, the potential of it is exciting for my family and for me."
Speaking to the New York radio station WFAN, new Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was looking forward to having Rodriguez available in his lineup.
"We've got a third baseman that provides a lot of offense and defense in the middle of the order," Girardi told the station. "I'm really excited that he's going to be back. Obviously, there's a few things that have to take place before it's absolute, but it's heading in that direction."
Rodriguez's apparent return will continue a relationship with New York, the Yankees and their fans that has been controversial at times, to say the least. For as many high points as A-Rod has experienced since approving a trade to the Yankees in Feb. 2004, Rodriguez has almost had just as many corresponding low points to work through.
"Anything that's happened to me on and off the field has made me a better person," Rodriguez said. "It's made me look in the mirror and realize that I have flaws and I have to work on them. I think my relationship with my teammates has been the biggest improvement, even though you can't gauge that."
Rodriguez said that, as the season wound down and the Yankees suffered their first-round elimination to the Indians in the AL Division Series, he was unsure of what direction the organization would be heading.
Aside from his own return, Rodriguez said that he was hoping the club would woo Andy Pettitte away from considering retirement, while at the same time expressing pleasure that both catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera also appear to be back in the fold.
"I think Mariano is obviously someone that we can't live without," Rodriguez said. "He's one of a kind and he's so unique in what he does for us. He's such an unbelievable force in our clubhouse. In many ways, he's the voice for a lot of people in there and he means so much -- more so than what he just does on the field. He's very, very special."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.