Alex Rodriguez may redefine the term "franchise player," but his agent denies a report that he might soon become a franchise owner.
New York Magazine reported on Sunday that the Yankees third baseman could end up with the Chicago Cubs next season with a blockbuster contract that includes part ownership of the team. Rodriguez can opt out of the last three years of his contract after this season.
According to the magazine, Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, has already identified the leading candidate to buy the Cubs and has begun negotiations on a mega-deal. The publication's source says that the deal could reach $30 million per year over 10 years, with part of the contract deferred toward an eventual stake in the franchise.
The Red Sox have also been mentioned as a possible destination for A-Rod. The team came close to trading for him before he ended up in New York.
"Great players with great demand create great rumors," Boras
said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday night. "While I
would enjoy having lunch with Mark Cuban and [John] Canning, at this point
of the year that conversation would not include Alex Rodriguez. I
have not talked to anyone."
Canning, chairman of private equity firm Madison Dearborn
Partners LLC, is thought to be a favorite to buy the Cubs from
Tribune Co., which is in the process of being purchased by an
entity controlled by real estate investor Sam Zell. Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, submitted an application to examine the
Speaking before Sunday's 7-5 win over Toronto, Rodriguez said
the report was "nonsense," as far as he knew.
Although he's had his ups and downs in New York in his four years there, A-Rod has carried the Yankees this season and has basically wrapped up the American League MVP award. Rodriguez is batting .312 and leads the league with 52 home runs, 146 RBIs and 138 runs scored. New York is only 1½ games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and leads the wild-card race by 5½ games.
A-Rod's huge numbers couldn't have come at a better time. Ten days after the World Series ends, A-Rod can opt out of the $252 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers six years ago. He is scheduled to make $27 million in each of the next three seasons.
Yankees president Randy Levine also responded harshly to the magazine piece.
"It's a silly story, and we don't believe it," he told ESPN.com's Buster Olney on Sunday evening. "However, if it was true, it would be grounds to disqualify the applicant even before he went through the process, because it would demonstrate a disregard for major league rules and procedures, and we're confident the commissioner would feel the same way."
Levine later said he spoke to Bud Selig, and the commissioner agreed with Levine's interpretation of the story, and its possible implications. A player can neither have part ownership of a team nor negotiate for future ownership.
The Yankees, who are all but assured of making the playoffs for the 13th straight season, likely won't watch A-Rod walk without attempting to sign him to an extension. But they have to act rather quickly. The Rangers are paying $29 million of Rodriguez's remaining deal. The moment he opts for free agency, the Yankees lose that money. They keep it if they can sign A-Rod to an extension.
So in the midst of a playoff run, the Yankees must decide what to do with the guy that got them there.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.