ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Alex Rodriguez isn’t interested in talking contract with the New York Yankees until after the season.
A-Rod has 3 seasons left on the record $252 million, 10-year deal, but can opt of the contract this fall and become a free agent – a decision the slugger would have to make within 10 days of the conclusion of the World Series.
Rodriguez is owed $24 million in each of the next three seasons by the Yankees, with Texas offsetting much of the money by paying New York $8,116,000 next year, $7,101,500 in 2009 and $6,087,000 in 2010.
He is guaranteed an additional $3 million annually by the Rangers, the original deferred money in his contract that was converted to an assignment bonus at the time of his trade to the Yankees.
“Like I’ve said all year, I think it’s something we’ll do at the end of the year,” Rodriguez said before the Yankees opened a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“I think it would be selfish on my part to talk about my contract status when our team desperately needs wins. My goal is to win as many games as we can, focus on my teammates and really play at a real high level in the second half.”
The Yankees, who have won nine consecutive AL East titles, have been hampered by injuries to key players and trailed the Boston Red Sox by 10 games coming out of the All-Star break.
A-Rod, however, has rebounded from a subpar 2006. He hit a major league-leading 30 homers before the All-Star break and was batting .317 with 86 RBIs when play resumed Thursday.
“The one thing I want to focus on is getting a win tonight and play baseball,” Rodriguez said, responding to reports that the Yankees would like to begin talks soon on an extension that would keep him in New York.
“That sort of thing I leave to the people upstairs,” Rodriguez said. “My only concern is to play baseball and play at a high level.”
Does that mean that no matter what, he will not negotiate before the season ends?
“Correct,” Rodriguez said.
His agent, Scott Boras, said extension talk was premature.
“We have always been under the plan that it’s something we would talk about at the end of the season, and we’ve had no discussions with anyone,” he said. “Don’t expect to.”
Two other Yankee mainstays, closer Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada, also could become free agents at the end of the season.
Rivera said he has not had any talks with the Yankees during the season. He said he’s fine with that, and that he wouldn’t be upset if the team initiated talks with Rodriguez before turning attention to him.
“That’s the Yankees’ business. They have to do whatever they have to do. It’s none of my business,” Rivera said. “I have a job, and we’ll see what happens.”
Like A-Rod, Posada said he isn’t interested in talking contract until after the season.
“I’ve got nothing to talk about. … There’s no sense for me to negotiate something now when I can wait and see what happens,” Posada said.
“I want to wait. I want to see it. I’ve never experienced free agency. First time ever. Probably the only time. I want to see what it’s like.”
Asked whether he wants to stay in New York, Posada said: “This is the only team I’ve known, and the only team I’ve played for. But if they don’t want me here, I won’t come back probably.”