Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A-Rod Fervor Begins

Pitchers & Catchers has yet to become a reality and Alex Rodriguez is already being written about as if it is late August. Yankees fans have grown accustomed to A-Rod's status as a writing instrument, now the "crystal ball" pieces have become a popular style.

UPDATE: Sports Illustrated reports that Alex sidestepped the question of whether or not he would opt out of his contract following the 2007 season.
During a promotional appearance Tuesday, Rodriguez was asked what he thought about Drew's decision.

"I didn't follow the J.D. Drew situation," Rodriguez said. "My situation and my only goal is to win a world championship, and I'm going to take it day to day. And that's about it."

"I think when you put things like that in the contract seven years ago, the intent was that it would give the player a choice, knowing full well the player may not use the provision, and also understanding, too, it gives him an option to consider," Boras said in a telephone interview. "At this point in time, Alex has certainly reflected to me he's very happy in New York. We have not talked about anything like that and probably will not until the season is completed."

Boras may try to wrap his tentacles around the idea of Rodriguez opting out of contract, but his client seems genuine in his desire to win in New York. If there is an underlying component that a reader might take away from A-Rod's quote it is that he has become entirely sick of answering this line of questioning. A lack of patience on A-Rod's part is totally fair, if not justified.

Jerry Crasnick submits three possible scenarios that could sway A-Rod & Boras into exercising or ignoring an out-clause.

Now that Manny Ramirez is staying in Boston and Bonds is re-signing with San Francisco -- we think -- it's the hot rumor du jour: A-Rod, tired of his best never being good enough in New York, plans to take advantage of his "opt out'' clause and flee for a more favorable environment.

He's not the only big leaguer with an escape clause. A.J. Burnett and Vernon Wells have similar opt-out provisions in Toronto. Aramis Ramirez just took advantage of one to negotiate a five-year, $75 million contract with the Cubs, and J.D. Drew left Los Angeles after two years to sign a $70 million deal with Boston.

Rob Neyer says that A-Rod is still one of the best. (ESPN Insider)
Banks was a great shortstop, but the truth is that he wasn't much of a first baseman, so when people recall the great player, they recall him as a shortstop. Rodriguez, while not quite as great now as he once was, remains one of the best players in the game. What's more, he's got a legitimate chance to break Rickey Henderson's all-time record for runs scored and Hank Aaron's all-time record for runs batted in. Maybe we won't call him "shortstop" or "third baseman" (though somebody in Cooperstown will have to decide). Maybe we'll just call him the greatest American Leaguer since Mickey Mantle. It might not roll off the tongue, exactly, but it just might have the singular virtue of being absolutely true.
And, if ESPN.com had not released enough Rodriguez banter for one day they also have a poll on their baseball frontpage.

The baseball season starts a little earlier this year.

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