Money is the big stumbling block

The Texas Rangers would consider trading Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox -- for the right considerations, of course.

It appears the deal is in the hands of the two owners -- Boston's John Henry and Tom Hicks of the Rangers. Rodriguez has met recently with Henry to discuss the possibility of playing for the Red Sox, according to Saturday's Boston Herald.

The Boston Globe and the Herald, citing unidentified sources, reported that Henry had at least
preliminary discussions with Rodriguez, obtaining permission from
commissioner Bud Selig to speak with a player under contract.

The Globe reported in Sunday's editions that Henry is expected to
meet with Rodriguez and his agent, Scott Boras, after returning
from Tuesday's dedication of the team's baseball academy in the
Dominican Republic.

The meeting will be to discuss restructuring the MVP shortstop's contract, according to the Globe.

Rodriguez, however, in Monday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, denied a meeting has been arranged and that no one has discussed restructuring his contract with him.

"I don't have any meetings scheduled with anybody, and I don't know of any meetings," Rodriguez told the paper. "That's complete speculation."

Red Sox management on Saturday would not confirm or deny the building rumors.

"We appreciate the inquiries and interest today, but we try to
adhere to a policy of not commenting on trade rumors," general manager Theo Epstein said in a statement. "We respectfully cannot participate in the process of confirming or
refuting trade rumors."

Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin said Saturday there were no developments to
report, and GM John Hart did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Texas owner Tom Hicks was quoted by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
as saying talks about a possible trade are continuing.

"There are discussions going on," Hicks told the newspaper.
"The only way it makes sense for the Rangers is that if there were
financial considerations to give us the ability to significantly
improve our team in (2004) and beyond.

"If that doesn't happen there will be no trade."

Sources told The Dallas Morning News earlier in the week that the Rangers would entertain dealing the $252 million man and 2003 American League MVP to Boston in exchange for outfielder Manny Ramirez.

The catch is that the Red Sox would have to absorb A-Rod's contract, which has seven years and about $180 million left on it, and would have to pay part of Ramirez's $20 million-per-season tag. The slugger has four years left on his contract.

The Morning News report said a couple of factors must come into play to complete the trade. Those factors include:

  • The Rangers saving at least $10 million per year. Half of that savings would come from swapping A-Rod with Ramirez straight up. The rest would need to come from the Red Sox paying part of Ramirez's salary. In essence, the Red Sox would be paying A-Rod an average of $25 million to $30 million for each of the next five years.

  • The Red Sox would have to deal with the Nomar Garciaparra issue, perhaps dealing him to either Anaheim or Los Angeles. Garciaparra would prefer to play on the West Coast if he left Boston.

    The Angels' offer would include Troy Glaus and/or Jarrod Washburn as part of a package, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are willing to dangle Odalis Perez, the Times reports.

    However, the Red Sox might be in danger of alienating Garciaparra should he remain with the team next season. In the last year of a seven-year, $44 million contract, he has said he wants to finish his career with the Red Sox. He recently married soccer star Mia Hamm and eyed buying a house in Boston.

    The Red Sox have said they want to sign Garciaparra to an extension. If A-Rod came to Boston, the team likely would not be able to absorb both contracts even if Garciaparra agreed to switch positions. He will make $11.5 million next season, plus the Red Sox will need a new left fielder in 2004 if they trade Ramirez.

    But will all those dominos fall? On Friday, Ramirez's agent, Jeff Moorad, said talks were

    "There seems to be a focus that often leads to successful
    deals," he said. "I've stayed in touch with both clubs over the
    last few days, and neither seemed optimistic today that a deal was

    Rodriguez told Texas last month that he was open to having the
    Rangers explore a trade.

    The shortstop has reached 47 homers and 118 RBI in three
    straight seasons. Ramirez had at least 33 homers and 104 RBI in
    each of his three years in Boston.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.