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Rodriguez Holds Contract Talks
With Yankees Without His Agent
IS A DEAL IMMINENT? SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports a ten-year, $280M contract, that can reach over $300M with incentives, “is expected to be completed in the next day or two” (SI.com, 11/15). A source said that terms of a deal “have been reached, although contract language still must be hammered out before anything can be made official.” A Yankees official said that he believes Rodriguez is “trying to restore his image, which has taken a beating” since he opted out (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/15). YES Network announcer John Sterling cited a source as saying the deal is “done, or it’s going to get done.” Sterling added Rodriguez “admitted that it was a mistake to opt out of the contract, and that they should have signed with the Yankees right away” (XM Radio, 11/14).
Many Feel Boras
Mishandled A-Rod Situation
BORAS' INVOLVEMENT: However, on Long Island, Wallace Matthews writes under the header, “A-Rod’s Call To Yankees Just A Negotiating Ploy.” Matthews: “When it comes time to really talk dollars, you can bet Scott Boras will be involved” (NEWSDAY, 11/15). Boston Globe columnist Jackie MacMullan: “There’s no way this deal gets done without Boras in the room” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 11/14). WFAN’s Sweeny Murti said the Yankees will "talk directly to Alex, when they make the money offer. And what Alex is going to do, he obviously needs some legal advice, so he’s going to talk to Scott on his own and just kind of work some numbers here and there. But Scott is not going to directly talk to the Yankees and drive this bus anymore” ("Mike & the Mad Dog, YES, 11/14).
THE NEW YANKEES HIERARCHY: In N.Y., John Harper writes under the header, “Hank Steinbrenner’s Stance Caught A-Rod, Boras Off Guard.” The “one development that [Rodriguez] didn’t see coming, the one that caused him to finally stand up to [Boras] and go looking to make things right with the Yankees, was the emergence of Hank Steinbrenner as the new Boss.” A source who talked to Rodriguez said, “Boras had been telling him not to worry about what [GM] Brian Cashman was saying about the opt-out, partly because they knew they had [Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner] on their side. But then Alex saw the shift in power, with the Steinbrenner sons taking over, and here was Hank saying ‘Goodbye, we don’t want you if you don’t want to be a Yankee’” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/15). MLB.com’s Mike Bauman wrote if Rodriguez re-signs with the Yankees, it “will signal that the younger Steinbrenner generation, … apparently now in power, will be every bit as aggressive as their father in pursuing talent” (MLB.com, 11/14). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes, “No one was willing to play poker with Boras, and that is surely the biggest reason A-Rod sought out the Steinbrenner family.” Sources said that Rodriguez “was stunned at the ugly backlash that greeted the news he was opting out” (N.Y. POST, 11/15). In N.Y., George Vecsey writes Boras “went too far, and Rodriguez did not seem to understand any of the implications of putting the squeeze on the Yankees” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/15).
Braves Owner Liberty Media revealed in an SEC filing this week that the team had “robust revenue and cash flow last season,” and Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk said that the club was “profitable and will spend ‘many millions more’ on next year’s player payroll,” according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Liberty said that the Braves generated $101M in revenue and $34M in operating cash flow for the three-month period that ended September 30. That brings the Braves’ revenue to $151M and operating cash flow to $46M since Liberty acquired the franchise in May. While McGuirk said that the figures “represent a ‘snapshot’ from the 4½ high-revenue months and reflect a ‘wildly skewed’ picture of the Braves’ year-round financial performance,” he acknowledged the Braves are in a “very healthy state right now.” McGuirk: “The team has gone … from huge losses (in 2003) to close to break-even (in 2006) to minimal profitability this year -- minimal but encouraging profitability.” The team began the '07 season with an $81M payroll, and McGuirk noted that he “doesn’t have a 2008 payroll budget.” McGuirk: “When we think we have the right team for the right money, we’re going to stop. All I can tell you is we’re going to spend more money. We’ll spend many millions of dollars more” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/15).
Birth Of Second Child Could Sideline
Matsuzaka For Games In Japan
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: In Boston, Michael Silverman writes the trip, "first brought up by Japanese sponsors in late spring, never caught the imagination of Red Sox players, who were concerned primarily with the toll trans-Pacific flights can take on a body." However, there was "never enough of a groundswell of discontent to derail the plan," and MLB took steps "to make the trip less disruptive" than the '04 Yankees-D'Rays series. Red Sox SS Alex Cora said, "We have to be good ambassadors of the game." Lucchino added, "There was a serious effort to adjust the schedule to allow for a more comfortable re-entry" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/15). The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, on whether playing the season opener in Japan will hurt the Red Sox: “I think it can. The team will probably have to leave around March 19-20. To me, that’s a peak time. … You have to play competitive games almost a week before you normally do." Cafardo added, "People look forward to going to spring training, and now you’re cutting off a couple of weeks. … People probably already have their vacations, they’re already booked” ("The Globe 10.0," NESN, 11/14). A's GM Billy Beane said the trip "is great for baseball, and what's great for baseball is great for the A's. There aren't reasons not to pursue an opportunity like this. They're giving us more than ample time to prepare, before and after the trip. The game is going global. Any attempt to restrict that is shortsighted" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/15).
Red Sox Raising Ticket Prices
By 9% For Next Season
FAN REAX: Season-ticket holder Jon Freedman said of the price increase, "It's pretty disgusting, but I'm not surprised. But you know, if I don't buy them, there are at least 1,000 people who will." Another season-ticket holder, Joe O'Donnell, who was part of a local group that attempted to buy the team in '02, said, "I don't have a problem with it." Season-ticket holder Steve Garvin added, "As long as they find better players, I'm all in favor of it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/15).
Hicks Shakes Up Stars Front
Office With Executive Changes
Hull (r) Taking Over Co-GM Role With Stars
ENGLISH RIFT? In London, James Ducker reported Liverpool has "dismissed suggestions that a rift has developed" between co-Owners Hicks and George Gillet, over funding for their proposed US$823M stadium. Liverpool CEO Rick Parry said, "I have just spent a couple of days with Tom and George. Both of them were in good spirits, working hard together on their future plans for the club" (LONDON TIMES, 11/14).
More than 3,000 fans have submitted $50 per-seat deposits on season tickets for Seattle’s new MLS franchise that was officially announced Tuesday, according to Matthew Gaschk of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The yet-to-be-named team’s co-Owner and GM Adrian Hanauer said, “This is what we were hoping for, but we didn’t know exactly what to expect. To hear that so many people responded just within the first 30 hours shows me that this is going to be a success.” Hanauer said that he “doesn’t expect the initial boom in ticket sales to last long, but does think there will be a steady stream of new tickets sold in the coming months.” Meanwhile, co-Owner Joe Roth “expressed interest” in signing U.S. national team and Premier League club Fulham G Kasey Keller, who is from the Seattle area and has indicated he wants to return there to finish his career (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 11/14).