Hicks: 'We have to make decisions'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas owner Tom Hicks is ready for a
final resolution after weeks of discussions about trading Alex Rodriguez to Boston.

If a deal to send the MVP shortstop to the Red Sox for
outfielder Manny Ramirez isn't completed by 5 p.m. EST Tuesday,
Hicks said Rodriguez will remain the Rangers' shortstop next

"This potential trade is very complicated and involves multiple
parties," Hicks wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on
Sunday night. "From the Texas Rangers' perspective, we need
finality so we can proceed with our offseason plans."

Hicks wrote that the Tuesday deadline "is a reasonable
time frame for the various groups to make their decisions."

Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, said Hicks called him Sunday to
inform him of the deadline for the trade of baseball's only $20
million-a-year players. A reigning MVP has never switched teams.

Red Sox owner John Henry didn't respond to an e-mail or
telephone call, and team president Larry Lucchino declined comment
in an e-mail.

If the deal isn't done by Tuesday, Hicks has told general
manager John Hart to build toward next season with Rodriguez in the

Hart, who didn't return phone messages Sunday night, had hoped
to have the situation resolved before the winter meetings ended
last Monday. That passed without a deal, as did commissioner Bud
Selig's Thursday deadline for talks between Rodriguez and Boston.

Rodriguez's $252 million, 10-year contract has seven years and
$179 million remaining.

During negotiations last week, the players'
association said the agreement could be restructured but not
reduced, and rejected Boston's proposal, which the union said would
cut $28 million to $30 million.

Instead, the union said it would approve a change that would
lower Rodriguez's contract by $12 million to $13 million in
exchange for him getting the right to use Boston's logo and
trademarks in marketing deals. In addition, he would be able to
become a free agent after the 2005 season.

"The parties have $13 million from Alex that they know they
have to work with. They didn't know that before last week. That
should be a real benefit," Boras said. "I think we've done our
work being able to define exactly what restructuring means for Alex
and the Boston Red Sox."

Lucchino proclaimed the trade "dead" Thursday, blaming the
players' association for not approving the steeper reduction. Texas
also blamed the union, but Hart wasn't prepared to say talks were

Ramirez has five years and $97.5
million left on the $160
million, eight-year contract he signed the same day Rodriguez got
his record deal.

If the deal goes through, the Red Sox presumably
would then trade longtime shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, possibly to
the Chicago White Sox.

In a story posted Sunday night on the Rangers' Web site, Hicks
said Rodriguez has had "mixed feelings" about the proposed deal.

"Our position has been consistent since the beginning," Hicks
said on the site. "We love Alex. He is the best in baseball, but
we explored what could be a win-win opportunity for all involved.
We only considered the opportunity because it would make us better
faster, but we can still win with Alex. We are prepared to have him
come back and be the leader in the clubhouse and on the field."