Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Thursday, November 08, 2007

STAY AWAY FROM "THE COOLER"

Signing A-Rod Makes No Sense

Adding Alex Rodriguez to the mix makes no sense for the Red Sox.

Firstly, A-Rod is "The Cooler." Wherever he goes, his teams under-perform. And when he leaves they usually get better.

Case in point; in 2000, his final year with Seattle, the Mariners went 91-71 and finished 2nd in the AL West. The following year, after A-Rod had exited as a free agent, the Mariners had the best record in baseball and won a record-tying 116 games without him.

From A-Rod's rookie season in 1996 -- covering five full years -- the Mariners reached the playoffs twice. They won the AL West in 1997 but were defeated by Baltimore in the ALDS, 3 games to 1. Then they won the Wild Card in 2000, but lost to the Yankees in six games in the ALCS.

During that off-season, A-Rod signed his record-setting free agent contract with the Texas Rangers, joining a team that had finished 4th in the AL West with an inverse 71-91 record to the Mariners 91-71.

With the addition of their high-priced superstar in 2001, Texas improved by a mere two games, going 73-89, once again finishing 4th in the AL West. In 2002, the Rangers again finished in 4th place, going 72-90. And finally, in 2003, the Rangers yet again finished in 4th place, at 71-91.

It should be noted that there are only four teams in the AL West. So, for three consecutive years with A-Rod, the Rangers finished in last place -- exactly where they finished before he joined them in 2000.

Then A-Rod went to the Yankees via trade. And what happened to Texas? They improved by 18 wins that year, going 89-73 -- their first winning campaign in six seasons. And of course, the Yankees never made it to the World Series with A-Rod, despite their rather massive investment.

So how was A-Rod worth a 10-year, $252 million dollar contract? Quite simply, he wasn't. So how does Scott Boras possibly think that his star third baseman is worth even more now? Only he knows. If the uber-agent really is seeking a $350 million contract for his client, there's a good chance that neither the Red Sox, nor anyone else, will enter into serious negotiations with him.

Most teams don't like Boras. And most people don't like A-Rod. The man is a chemistry killer, and chemistry is what helped the Red Sox win each of their last two Championships. There have long been rumors that A-Rod rubs his teammates the wrong way. Derek Jeter tired of his act very quickly in New York, and none of his teammates ever truly rallied to support him when the heat was on. At the least, A-Rod's teammates have to be envious of his enormous contract. What has he done to deserve it? The playoffs are money time and his track record in those critical situations is rather lackluster; 39 games, .279 average, 7 homers, 17 RBI, 38 strike outs.

My bet is that Boras and A-Rod will surprised by the lack of interest at their asking price. They'll have to come down on either the years or the money. The stark reality for "Team A-Rod/Boras" is that only a handful of teams could possibly afford such an exorbitant contract. And it makes you wonder if either the player or agent ever asked himself why anyone of them would eat up such an enormous amount of payroll on one player?

A-Rod is 32. The Red Sox don't want him -- or any other player -- under contract for 10 or 12 years. Who does? For any deal to work out, A-Rod and Boras would have to come down substantially on the contract length, and thereby its overall cost. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal suggested that perhaps the Red Sox can persuade A-Rod to take a shorter deal that would allow him to re-enter the free-agent market just as he is closing in on Barry Bonds' home-run record. Five years, $150 million, plus option years and voidable years might be workable to both sides.

Boras can come with all his charts, graphs and statistics, but one thing is for certain; the Red Sox's revenues can't go much higher by adding A-Rod. There are no more seats to sell. Subscriptions to NESN aren't likely to increase and neither are ratings. If anything, A-Rod will only drain resources and make it that much more difficult to address other needs as they arise.

The Red Sox won two World Series without A-Rod over the last four years, while the Yankees won none with him. Even if his contract demands are dropped considerably, who really wants "The Cooler" on their team?

Copyright © 2007 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.

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