By now you may have heard about the story New York magazine did on Alex Rodriguez. In essence, a source claims that Scott Boras has negotiated a 10-year, $300 million deal with a prospective owner of the Cubs that will include a chance for Rodriguez to purchase part of the team.
The writer is Will Leitch of Deadspin fame.
It’s hard to believe on several fronts. The sale of the Cubs is not likely to be completed until January, if then. If Rodriguez were to become a free agent, it’s unlikely he would wait so long to sign with a team.
If a prospective ownership group were discovered to be negotiating with a player under contract with another team, that would be grounds for their bid to be terminated. Rodriguez is good. But no player is good enough to take that risk.
The leading contender for the Cubs is an investment group leaded by John Canning Jr., a friend of commissioner Bud Selig. It’s hard to believe Canning would go behind Selig’s back in such a way.
Finally, would Boras really risk his entire empire by doing such a thing? Agents talk to owners all the time. But if Boras was found to be negotiating such a deal six months ahead of time while Rodriguez was still playing for the Yankees, he would lose whatever trust he has built up with the 29 other teams.
It’s a well-written story. But nobody is quoted. A-Rod may not be Churchill, but he’s available twice a day, every day if you have a question. As for Boras, if you can’t get him to talk about Alex, you’re just not trying.
Which may well be the case. Maybe the writer didn’t want anybody to refute his source.
You also need to consider the source of the story. New York is a good read if you find a new sushi restaurant or you’re dying for the gossip about Fashion Week. But sports?
But get used to it. Between now and whenever a final decision is made, there will be dozens of stories referencing dozens of sources about what A-Rod will do. Most will be abject speculation. Throwing something up there and seeing if it sticks is part of the business.
What is certain is this: The Yankees drew 4.2 million people to the Stadium and that’s an awful lot of Cokes, hot dogs and $30 caps. With a new stadium rising and YES on the air, the only real surprise will be if Rodriguez ever gets to free agency in the first place.
UPDATE, 11:33 p.m.: Somebody did ask Rodriguez today – hey, actual reporting! – and he called the report “nonsense.”
This from Scott Boras: “Great players with great demand create great rumors. While I would enjoy having lunch with Mark Cuban and Canning, at this point of the year that conversation would not include Alex Rodriguez. I have not talked to anyone.”
Cuban is also bidding for the team.
Boras also pointed out that it’s against MLB rules for a player to have equity or potential equity in a franchise. So unless Boras figured a way around that, it’s another strike against that story.