Rodriguez plan through the roof
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Until Wednesday, when bidding may officially commence for the services of Alex Rodriguez among allegedly sane people (i.e., baseball executives outside the offices of the New York Yankees), we are left to ruminate on the lunatic echo of Scott Boras' reported starting point.
Three-hundred and fifty million dollars, "as a floor."
Even for Boras, the game's reigning uber agent, that right there is some killer flooring.
I dropped into Rusmur's in the North Hills just to comparison shop. Regarding contemporary hardwood, you can get African Rosewood for $4.87 a square foot, which appeared to be on sale. Very nice.
Even if, for example, Rodriguez were to go through with the rumored purchase of Shaquille O'Neal's Star Island mansion outside of Miami, an eight-bedroom affair of about 19,440 square feet, the erstwhile Yankees third sacker could lay African Rosewood over every square inch of his new pad for only $94,478.00. Don't know if that would make new neighbor Will Smith envious, but it's worth considering.
As for A-Rod himself, for whom is he worth considering and at what ultimate cost?
Let's start with the Pirates.
Let's start instead with that $350,000,000. Where did that come from?
According to Newsday, the Yankees were prepared to offer a five-year extension at $28 million per summer on A-Rod's current deal, which has three years to run at $27 million per. Total: $221 million. Or, as it is alleged, $129 million below "the floor."
Presumably, what Boras will require of the rest of the marketplace, or, again, the sane people, will be some kind of sunken living room type of floor. Or maybe Boras actually thinks A-Rod could fetch about $54 million a year starting in 2011 through 2015. That's what $350 million looks like if his new club maintains the structure of his remaining contract in the near term.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have shown under Ned Colletti that they're willing to overpay -- see the Rafael Furcal contract, the Anaheim Angels of Approximately Los Angeles are said to be very interested and have a similarly intemperate track record -- see the Gary Mathews Jr. contract, and we are advised not to eliminate the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox or San Francisco Giants from this particular danse macabre.
The Red Sox simply don't need A-Rod. What, to win the World Series in three games?
The Giants expect to have an opening at conspicuous superstar with the departure of a certain left fielder, but they're the team most recently burned by Boras' blinding rhetoric. It was only last year at this time, they will no doubt recall, that the Giants bought into the Barry Zito-is-Cy Young-with-a-better-two-seamer scheme Boras bragged about developing.
Zito got $126 million for seven years from the Giants, and in the first of those summers won 11 games with a career low 131 strikeouts and a career high 4.89 earned run average. Based on Zito's average yearly income ($18 million), the Giants would end up paying $1,636,363.63 per win. Paul Maholm got the Pirates 10 wins for $403,000.
While A-Rod is clearly a surer bet as the game's most consistent offensive force, his outsized production is still dwarfed by his insane compensation. The steady escalation of salaries used to rattle the game's executives, particular small-market owners and general managers, but the contract A-Rod signed with the Texas Rangers in December 2000, most of which the Yankees inherited, was so many light years into a far off economic galaxy that its gravitational pull was probably compromised.
No one has been anxious to even approximate the $25.2 million annual average A-Rod has brought down ever since, which is illustrated by the number of names at the top of the highest-paid player list before and after. From the dawn of free agency in the mid-70's until Texas bagged A-Rod from Seattle, the game had a different highest-paid player depending on the month. Just since 1988, Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett, Ricky Henderson, Robin Yount, Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, Bobby Bonilla, Ryne Sandberg, Barry Bonds, Cecil Fielder, Albert Belle, Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown all topped the list at one point or another. Since December 2000, that place has been A-Rod's alone, except for a one-year wrinkle in the current contract of Manny Ramirez that put him there temporarily. Only Ramirez currently has a contract in which the total annual value comes within $6 million of A-Rod's.
That's why I can't believe that whoever winds up with Rodriguez is going to be paying an annual average of $30 million or more, especially since A-Rod's offensive brilliance has never accrued to the greater glory of anyone other than A-Rod. For the Yankees, who put $170 million worth of supporting actors on the big stage around him, Rodriguez hit .130 over the past three postseasons.
No one would be crazy enough to spend 10 times the average salary on one player of suspect impact, would they?
Of course, this is baseball.
Prepare to be floored.
First Published November 11, 2007 12:00 am