If Rodriguez opts out, Yankees won't pursue

The Baltimore Sun

Brian Cashman left no wiggle room yesterday in reiterating that the New York Yankees will not negotiate with Alex Rodriguez if he exercises the opt-out clause in his contract next month.

Cashman has repeatedly said that it would be his recommendation not to negotiate with Rodriguez if he opts out of the contract, as the Yankees would lose the $22 million subsidy from the Texas Rangers over the next three seasons.

However, Cashman acknowledged last week that even though he is the general manager, other people have stakes in the decision (i.e. owner George Steinbrenner and his sons, Hank and Hal).

But yesterday after meeting with the three Steinbrenners and other members of the Yankees brain trust, Cashman said the team absolutely does not plan to negotiate with Rodriguez if he opts out. Another source familiar with talks told Newsday the Steinbrenners are absolutely onboard with that.

"Yes, I can affirm that," Cashman said. "If Alex Rodriguez opts out of his contract, we will not participate in his free agency. That is accurate and that is definitive."

Rodriguez has three years and $81 million remaining on the 10-year, $252 million contract he signed with the Rangers in December 2000. He and his wife, Cynthia, spent the past several days meeting with agent Scott Boras in Newport Beach, Calif.

The Yankees are willing to give Rodriguez a lucrative contract extension. However, Boras cannot get other teams involved in negotiations unless Rodriguez, who hit 54 homers and drove in 156 runs this season, opts out. And he needs to keep the Yankees involved to drive the dollars up on what could be a huge contract.

On the fate of manager Joe Torre, the team has not made a decision yet.

According to a person familiar with the talks, three scenarios are on the table: one in which Torre returns as manager with a new contract and it's business-as-usual, one in which Torre returns under certain conditions (perhaps a lower salary or restrictions on his coaching staff), and one in which Torre is let go and a new manager is hired.

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