Bobby Abreu hits, the Yankees win. It seemed that simple in a 7-3 win against Tampa Bay.
Alex Rodriguez does not want to talk about a contract now. This notebook also has updates on Jeff Karstens and Jason Giambi.
The A-Rod situation is certainly a complicated one. The Yankees would be willing to sign him to an extension. But if he opts out, they would amost certainly bid him farewell. What makes Rodriguez affordable is the $21.3 million Texas would pay the Yankees from 2008-10. Take that away and he makes far less sense.
In the end, they need each other. If A-Rod stays with the Yankees, he would make $27 million next season then $32 million in 2009 and 2010 thanks to the escalator clause in his deal. If they Yankees extend him at, say, three years at $30 million, that’s a total package of six years and $181 million, an average annual salary of $30.16 million.
Can he get that on the open market? Only a handful of teams can even entertain the thought. One of them is the Mets and they have a third baseman and a shortstop. Then you have the Red Sox, Dodgers and perhaps the Cubs and Angels.
The Red Sox seem unlikely given the money they’ve laid out for guys like J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Plus, does even Alex have enough phony pills to pretend he wants to play in front of fans who have despised and mocked him for four years?
If the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox aren’t involved, Scott Boras won’t have a lot of leverage. As much as he may want to take his biggest client into the open market, coming to a deal with the Yankees might make the most sense.
The sides have from the end of the season until 10 days after the World Series before A-Rod can opt out. If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, that could be 37 days. That’s plenty of time to come to an agreement.
Keep this in mind: When Brian Cashman said in spring training that he would not negotiate during the season, he was the king of all he surveyed. His power was such at the time that those words carried a lot of weight.
Now with the team he built at .500, Cashman has to follow orders. The Yankees can’t keep YES profitable and fill their new stadium on pitching prospects and aging stars. They need a hood ornament and A-Rod certainly is that.
What Cashman can insist is that any movement made toward A-Rod coincides with opening talks with Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
You’ll hear and read a lot posturing on this for months to come. But in the end, the Yankees and Rodriguez will realize they need each other.