We’re all used to the fact that Alex Rodriguez is a bit of a diva, but this time, his behavior was a little too outrageous for even the most forgiving New York native to stomach. According to various media sources, the former New York Yankees star was in a bad place last week, after it was announced the MLB players union had vetoed his trade to the Boston Red Sox, instead putting him on the block via the trade deadline.
The third baseman has been one of the biggest names in baseball the last few years. He’s led the Yankees to their first World Series title and just won his second AL MVP award. But he’s about to become a free agent, and MLB wants to make sure he never plays another game as a Yankee.
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After three years of a record 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers, Alex Rodriguez was ready to leave. Although the Rangers put up amazing numbers and finished the season with an AL MVP award and a .298/.396/.600 slash line with a league-high 47 home runs and 118 runs scored, they hadn’t won more than 73 games in three seasons since A.Rod arrived, and he was tired of losing.
Rodriguez decided to join the Boston Red Sox, who were on the verge of ending the curse of the Bambino, but had just had their hearts broken in the 2003 ALCS, when they lost to the New York Yankees in a dramatic seven-game series. And for a brief moment it looked like A.Rod’s wish would be granted, as a multilateral deal was struck to send Rodriguez to Bintown from the Lone Star State.
However, the MLBPA blocked the deal, and Rodriguez didn’t take the news very well.
After the ALCS loss against the Yankees, which of course was accentuated by Aaron Boone’s spectacular home run in the 11th inning. Toward the end of Game 7, then-Boston general manager Theo Epstein was looking for the final piece of the puzzle, and he thought Rodriguez might be it.
The problem was that A.Rod had seven years and $179 million left on his contract, which the Red Sox didn’t want to take on. However, when trade talks between the Rangers and Red Sox gained momentum, Rodriguez agreed to a $4 million annual salary cut in exchange for the option to waive his contract each season after 2005. There were also questions about what the Red Sox would do with shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, since A.Rod was still playing at that position at the time.
But Epstein, fittingly, found a solution and called up the Chicago White Sox. Eventually, the Red Sox got Rodriguez from the Rangers, outfielder Maglio Ordonez and right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy from the White Sox, while Manny Ramirez and John Lester, then 19, were sent to Texas and Nomar and one of his assistants were sent to the Windy City.
It’s the typical blockbuster, isn’t it?
When all the pieces were in place, Rodriguez, the Rangers, Red Sox and White Sox agreed on a deal that would have been amazing knowing what we know now. But the deal had one last hurdle to clear: approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association.
This obstacle has clearly not yet been overcome.
The MLBPA rejected Rodriguez’s amended contract because they say it opens the door to future situations where teams could try to avoid payments to players.
As mentioned earlier, the Red Sox were not interested in taking over A.Rod’s entire salary, and although negotiations continued for a short time, trade talks broke down.
Rodriguez says he was shot and surrendered on the streets of New York after his contract with the Red Sox was terminated
Alex Rodriguez in New York in May 2019. Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images
When he learned that his dream contract with the Red Sox had fallen through, Rodriguez didn’t take it well. In a recent interview with fellow ESPN personality Buster Olney, A.Rod talked about his frustrations and said he took it out on his liver (h/t CBS Boston).
It was a stab in the back. I remember going out with my friends in New York and Cynthia [his ex-wife] and we all went to the [club]. We walked all night. I don’t drink. That night I drankwith abomb. And literally, we used limousines in those days, and at 4 or 5 in the morning, I was puking in frustration on the streets of New York. It was about two months: Ugh! I’ll never forget that night.
While Rodriguez was (and apparently still is) disappointed that he wasn’t coming to Boston, Red Sox fans are probably glad the deal never went through. The following year, Ramirez helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 seasons, beating Rodriguez, who was traded to the Bronx in January 2004, and the Yankees. Unfortunately, Garciaparra did not participate in the title game, as he was traded to the Chicago Cubs at the 2004 trade deadline.
Ramirez won his second Biantown title in 2007, a series in which Lester started and won the final game of a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies. Lester won his second title with the Red Sox in 2013.
White Sox fans can’t feel too bad, as they ended 88 years of drought by beating the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series.
Rodriguez finally won that elusive World Series in 2009, when the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Now we wonder if A. Rod bombed and vomited in the streets of New York during the party that followed.
statistics provided by Baseball Reference
COMPARED TO: Red Sox Hall of Famer says Mookie Betts never wanted to leave Boston
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