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A-Rod regrets not signing with Mets

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  • A-Rod regrets not signing with Mets

    During spring training, Alex Rodriguez has mostly avoided discussion of his messy contract opt-out and offseason return to the Yankees, but apparently only because he didn't want to say something that might prove controversial, as is often his habit.

    When A-Rod agreed to sit down at his locker with the Daily News recently for a one-on-one, however, it was clear that the decision that likely will keep him in pinstripes for the remainder of his career - and the firestorm that came with it - was still weighing on his mind.

    Rodriguez hit on his usual talking points, including his pursuit of a ring, but quickly veered off into areas he has rarely discussed: The regret he suffered when he shunned the Mets in favor of the Rangers in 2000, and the personal conflict that surrounded his decision to break away from agent Scott Boras this past offseason.

    "I went for the contract when my true desire was to go play for the Mets," Rodriguez said with a sigh of his decision to ink his $252 million deal with Texas eight years ago.

    As A-Rod described how he failed to take a stand when Boras was negotiating his record pact, he seemed haunted by the idea that in breaking free of the Yankees he could have made another decision based strictly on money and wound up as unhappy as he was in Texas for three years.

    The three-time MVP says that at some point after his opt-out decision in October, he realized he could be headed for a similar scenario, with Boras dictating his next destination.

    "So to make the right decision just feels really good," Rodriguez said, "versus being taken down a road where I'm like, 'Oh, my God, where am I? Oh, $400 million to play in some place I hate? Great, I'll blow my --- head off.'

    "I wanted to remain a Yankee and for once I put my money where my mouth was. It felt good to make a decision on my own and execute it - to deal with Hank and Hal (Steinbrenner) on a one-on-one basis and get a deal done.

    "If people want to question why I did it, I don't care because it made me happy. If I had gone to Team X, Y or Z, it wouldn't have made me happy. It would have been because Scott wanted me to go - it would have been for the most money. And then I'm always going to be known as a guy who always wanted the most money."

    A-Rod said he was motivated to break free from Boras partly because of his fear that Hank Steinbrenner was serious about closing the door on his possible return to the Bronx, and because he was simply at a different stage of his life compared to when he had signed with the Rangers.

    "My wife and daughter both love New York," said A-Rod. "Four days after I opted out (and was living in Miami), my daughter says, 'I really miss my bedroom and my toys in New York.' I wanted to shoot myself. I said to my wife, 'What the --- are we doing?' "

    When it was suggested that some players never put such personal considerations ahead of the best deal, A-Rod nodded.

    "That was me - and now it's not," he said. "That's the difference between being 24 and 32. And that's what I'm proud of."

    Proud and happy, with no issues hanging over him for a change - unless Jose Canseco truly has some dirt to dish - A-Rod seems more at ease than ever as a Yankee. He says he learned to thrive in New York last year by no longer trying to please everyone, as well as no longer feeling compelled to react to everything said or written about him.

    Derek Jeter even seems to be warming up to him again, engaging him more in clubhouse banter a year after A-Rod stopped pretending publicly that they were still best friends.

    "Once you start letting go a little bit, things start coming to you a little easier," A-Rod said. "They did for me last year. In the past, I've always said, 'I have to do this and I have to do that,' mainly because of the expectations.

    "Now I've come to a point where, if I get a hit with the bases loaded, cool, and if I don't, so what? Next at-bat. Or next game. People always want it to be about the individual battle with me, but I just want to be part of this team, and I think that will help me get to where I want to go."

    That would be winning a championship - or three - as a Yankee, which is where this interview started. Rodriguez downplays the need for a ring to fulfill a career that is likely to end with him as baseball's all-time home run king. But he also admits that he has spoken with athletes such as John Elway and Dan Marino about these things.

    Elway won two Super Bowls late in his career to cement his Hall of Fame legacy, while Marino, one of A-Rod's sports idols and the reason he wears No. 13, never got a ring.

    "That was painful for me because I watched every game of his career," A-Rod said. "I talked to him a little bit about it. As athletes we're so competitive that it would haunt all of us. And if we told you that it didn't, we'd be lying.

    "But Dan Marino might be the greatest quarterback of all time, and the other side of that is, as a Dolphin fan I give him credit because he stayed a Dolphin for 17 years. He could have gone to Pittsburgh or the Cowboys or the Raiders, but he didn't. That's where I think the loyalty of the fans comes in. I think at some point they appreciate him for that.

    "I want to believe it's the same with me. If I had gone to Detroit or someplace and I don't win, people are going to hammer me, because there's no loyalty, and by moving again, I don't represent anything. Instead, I'm planting my roots here and saying I want to win with one team and represent something as a Yankee the rest of my .career. I think it's the right way to do it."
    "I'm happy for [Edwin Encarnacion] because this guy bleeds internally, big-time" -Dusty Baker

    "If on-base percentage is so important, then why don't they put it on the scoreboard?" -Jeff Francoeur

    "At the end of the day, the sun comes up and I still have a job" -Joba Chamberlain

  • #2
    My question(s) is (are) this/these:

    1) Would ARod have taken less money (than the Yankees were offering) to play in Queens?

    2) If he really wanted to be a Met, why didn't he tell Bora$ where to go, and get another agent?


    • #3
      I'm glad he didn't sign, unless he could play 2nd base.


      • #4
        Originally posted by NJMetfan4life View Post
        I'm glad he didn't sign, unless he could play 2nd base.
        For a player like Arod, you make room. Whether that means shifting Wright to first or Reyes to second, Arod is worth it.

        Moonlight Graham game, no at-bats...


        • #5
          Put A-Rod in LF. Wright is a better defensive 3B than him (look at RFg and RF9, not E).
          "I'm happy for [Edwin Encarnacion] because this guy bleeds internally, big-time" -Dusty Baker

          "If on-base percentage is so important, then why don't they put it on the scoreboard?" -Jeff Francoeur

          "At the end of the day, the sun comes up and I still have a job" -Joba Chamberlain


          • #6
            I'm not going to wholly blame him for taking the most money - maybe he should have taken a shorter deal if he was unsure about Texas. But what was the difference between Texas and the second team? I heard that by the time it was done, Tom Hicks was bidding against himself. That deal was damaging in many ways - A-Rod was unhappy, the Rangers couldn't afford to make the upgrades they needed (baseball is still won primarily with pitching and defense), and I'm sure there was some residual effect on other contracts to come.

            Would I have liked A-Rod as a Met? Probably not. I find it hard to like him, but maybe I don't know the real him, just the tabloids version.


            • #7
              that does not seem right


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