Arod to Re-Sign with the Yankees(?)

The Arod story heats up even more. According to multiple sources, The New York Yankees are getting close to re-signing third baseman Alex Rodriguez to a multi-year contract that would pay him as much as $290 million.

One source cautioned that the Yankees “don’t have a deal yet,” the possibility of it happening was a hot topic among executives on Wednesday as they prepared for Thursday morning’s joint session of the 30 owners and/or their representatives.

The news came only hours after Rodriguez confirmed making direct contact with the Yankees with the hope of reviving his future in New York.

In a statement posted on http://www.arod.com, Rodriguez’s official Web site, Alex Rodriguez said that he had spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family and is taking part in continuing dialogue with the club.

“After spending time with [wife] Cynthia and my family over these last few weeks, it became clear to me that I needed to make an attempt to engage the Yankees regarding my future with the organization,” Rodriguez said. He continued, “Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs, I wanted the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with Yankees ownership. We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness.”

Randy Levine, the team’s president who is in town for the meetings, declined to comment on the Rodriguez situation, saying only that he didn’t want to “negotiate in the press.”

But a baseball source at the meetings with knowledge of the negotiations said that the Yankees now have an open dialogue with Rodriguez. The source also denied a report published on Wednesday that the Yankees specifically told A-Rod that they would not negotiate with Scott Boras, his agent.

The source added that Rodriguez “reached out” to the Yankees, but that the team has “no right to tell anyone who should represent” any player.

Citing his comfort in New York, Rodriguez confirmed that he approached the Yankees through a third-party intermediary.

“I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message,” Rodriguez said. “I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation. Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another, and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days.”

This is interesting news because the Yankees originally backed away from Rodriguez after Game 4 of the World Series when Boras announced that Rodriguez had opted out of his contract and forgeited teh remaining $81 million on his deal.

At the time, Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner dismissed talk of pursuing A-Rod, saying, “It’s goodbye.” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman repeated on several occasions that the Yankees would not pursue Alex Rodriguez if he opted out of his contract, due to the $30 million subsidy the Texas Rangers agreed to pay when the Yankees acquired Arod prior to the 2004 season in exchange for 2B Alfonso Soriano.

Alex Rodriguez is the heavy favourite for the American League MVP award this year. He led the Major Leagues in home runs (54), RBIs (156), and runs scored (143) in 2007, batting .314 with 24 stolen bases. He is also a member of the 500 club, dinging his 500th home run on August 4 to become the youngest player in history to reach that mark.

What isn’t clear in this situation are the Yankees’ intentions. Hank Steinbrenner, regarding Arod’s decision to opt out of his contract, said : “It’s clear he didn’t want to be a Yankee. He doesn’t understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field.” The last remark was especially caustic: “I don’t want anybody on my team that doesn’t want to be a Yankee. Maybe Hank Steinbrenner had a change of mind. Maybe we shouldn’t treat this too seriously? What are Arod’s intentions?

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 15, 2007.

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