Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 20 News List

A-Rod remains a Ranger but Texas still has hope

NO GO Bud Selig called time on Alex Rodriguez's contract talks, but the shortstop's employers think they can still offload their talented wage burden

AP , NEW YORK

The Alex Rodriguez trade is "dead," or so the Boston Red Sox say. The Texas Rangers and the shortstop still have hope.

Just hours after major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig ended talks to restructure "A-Rod's" US$252 million contract Thursday, the Red Sox said Manny Ramirez would not be sent to Texas for the American League Most Valuable Player.

"The proposed trade between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers is dead," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said.

The Rangers, though, believed they could rekindle the swap of the two highest-paid players in baseball.

"There is a likelihood the deal is dead," Texas general manager John Hart said. "But at the same time, we haven't issued a statement that it's completely dead."

Rodriguez offered to reduce salaries in his contract by US$12 million in exchange for increased marketing and logo use rights, agent Scott Boras said. He also would have had right to become a free agent after the 2005 season, a baseball source said on the condition he not be identified.

The proposal from the Red Sox that the players' association rejected a day earlier would have cost Rodriguez US$28 million, according to the team's evaluation, and US$30 million, according to the union's analysis, Boras said.

"We're going to be in communication with the Rangers as to their discussions with the Red Sox," Boras said. "Every indication we had was that the parties would continue to talk."

Rangers owner Tom Hicks will probably speak to the Red Sox to try to work out an agreement after all, Hart said.

Selig had set a 5pm deadline for an agreement. It passed without a deal, and the commissioner ended the talks between Rodriguez and Boston.

"The players' association's intransigence and the arbitrary nature of its action are responsible for the deal's demise today," Lucchino said.

After Rodriguez and Boston reached an agreement Wednesday, the union refused it, saying it reduced the value of the contract, the highest in professional sports history.

"It's unfortunate that the players' association felt it necessary to take a legal position which prevented the player and at least two teams from effectuating an agreement that they felt was beneficial," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

While management's top labor lawyer had hinted that Selig might approve the rejected deal, Rodriguez made clear Thursday morning he would go to Boston only with an agreement that met the union's approval.

Because Rodriguez has a no-trade clause, a deal can't happen without his approval.

"In the spirit of cooperation, I advised the Red Sox I am willing to restructure my contract, but only within the guidelines prescribed by union officials," Rodriguez said in a statement he read reporters during a Thursday telephone call. "I recognize the principle involved, and fully support the need to protect the interests of my fellow players.

"If my transfer to the Red Sox is to occur, it must be done with consideration of the interests of all major league players, not just one."

If the blockbuster deal goes through, Boston probably would trade longtime shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, possibly to the Chicago White Sox.

Wednesday's talks were held in New York, but Thursday's negotiations were done by telephone. Gene Orza, the union's No 2 official, declined comment. has gotten a lot of focus but I choose to focus on the players I have."

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