NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball had this message for Alex Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras: Shame on you.
Boras announced during Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night that A-Rod was opting out of the final three seasons of his contract with the New York Yankees. The timing left baseball officials livid, and Boras apologized Monday evening, just after Rodriguez filed with the players’ association and became a free agent for the first time since 2000.
"We were very disappointed that Scott Boras would try to upstage our premier baseball event of the season with his announcement," Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game," DuPuy said. "Last night and today belong to the Boston Red Sox, who should be celebrated for their achievement, and to the Colorado Rockies, who made such an unbelievable run to the World Series."
Boras said causing a distraction was an unintended consequence.
"I apologize to the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies and their players, Major League Baseball and its players, and baseball fans everywhere for that interference," he said in a statement. "The teams and players involved deserved to be the focus of the evening and honoured with the utmost respect. The unfortunate result was not my intent, but is solely my fault. I could have handled this situation better, and for that I am truly sorry."
Red Sox fans sure took notice fast. After their team won the title for the second time in four seasons, they stood behind the visitors’ dugout at Coors Field and chanted: "Don’t sign A-Rod!"
"Kind of strange timing," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said after Boston completed its sweep of Colorado.
New York, which failed to make the World Series in all of Rodriguez’s seasons, maintained Monday that it will not attempt to re-sign A-Rod now that he has opted out.
"No chance," Hank Steinbrenner, a son of owner George Steinbrenner, said Monday at Legends Field. "Not if it’s made official."
Rodriguez signed his record US$252-million, 10-year contract with Texas before the 2001 season. By cutting the deal short, he will have earned $180 million over seven seasons in signing bonus, salaries and his assignment bonus from when he was traded. In addition, he has earned $3.65 million in award bonuses and is in line to gain as much as $1.8 million more for post-season awards this year.
Terminating the contract saved the Texas Rangers $21.3 million they owed the Yankees over the next three years, payments agreed to at the time of the 2004 trade.
Hank Steinbrenner did not make much of Boras’ timing on the announcement.
"It doesn’t matter to me," he said. "But I’m sure there’s a lot of people that aren’t very happy about it. Other baseball people, the commissioner’s office, the Red Sox."
Hank Steinbrenner said the team left messages with Rodriguez, and "we really wanted to meet with him."
"We wanted him to stay a Yankee. We wanted to let him know how much we wanted him," he said. "The bottom line is … do we really want anybody that really doesn’t want to be a Yankee? How the heck can you do that? Compare him with (Derek) Jeter. Jeter, since he was a little kid, all he ever wanted to do was play shortstop for the Yankees. That’s what we want." .
New York was preparing to offer Rodriguez a four- or five-year extension worth between $25 million and $30 million annually and had hoped to meet with A-Rod to present the offer.
"We expressed our interest in keeping him in pinstripes, and requested the opportunity to convey those feelings to him directly with the Steinbrenner family in an open, face-to-face dialogue," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement.
Cashman sounded as if Rodriguez’s stay in the Bronx was over.
"Alex was a key part of our success over the last four seasons, and I appreciate having the opportunity to work with him," he said. "I only wish we could have raised a championship trophy together during his time here, which was the ultimate goal we all shared." .
Notes: Also among the 57 players who filed for free agency on the first possible day were Yankees P Mariano Rivera, C Jorge Posada and 1B Doug Mientkiewicz; Minnesota OF Torii Hunter; Colorado Ps Jeremy Affeldt and Jorge Julio; Mets C Paul Lo Duca; and San Francisco OF Barry Bonds. A pair of Toronto Blue Jays also filed — OF Matt Stairs and RHP Joe Kennedy.