12/16/2003 7:02 PM ET
A-Rod Watch will be over soon
All-Star is meeting with the Players Association
NEW YORK -- The suspense could be over soon.
Texas owner Tom Hicks and Boston owner John Henry have set a one-week timetable to negotiate the proposed trade of Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.
By the end of this week, the clubs will know if Rodriguez will become the first-ever reigning MVP to be traded or if he will remain with the Texas Rangers. Neither the Rangers nor the Red Sox want negotiations between the clubs regarding Rodriguez to further affect their activity with free agents or possible trades.
"We talked yesterday and agreed that we would spend this week seeing if we can do something that would work for both teams," said Rangers owner Tom Hicks on Monday. "If we can't do it this week, we will agree to put it behind us. It's either something happens -- or not -- this week."
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
On Tuesday evening, the Rangers released a statement from Hicks.
"At this time negotiations are at a sensitive point. Due to this fact, we will have no further comment on this situation today."
Rodriguez, who enters the fourth year of a 10-year, $252 million contract, is meeting with officials from the Players Association to discuss flexibility within his contract, an indication the proposed trade is coming to fruition. The meetings began at 9 a.m. ET in New York and were expected to go into the early evening. According to recent reports, the Players Association may allow restructured deals, but it is unlikely to approve devaluation of a contract.
On Sunday in New Orleans, Rangers general manager John Hart repeated the sentiment that nothing has changed regarding the possible trade.
"In my own mind, it is what it is and the situation is where it is," Hart said Sunday. "There has not been finalization on it, but it's not something we envision or we see happening. That's the same thing we said all along and we are doing our business as we always will."
The Rangers want the Red Sox to take the remaining $180 million on Rodriguez's contract and pay as much as $5 million of Ramirez's annual salary over the next five years, a savings of more than $100 million on the value of Rodriguez's contract. Ramirez, entering the fourth year of an eight-year, $160 million deal, has $100 million remaining on his contract. The proposed trade is also contingent on the Rangers' ability to acquire pitching prospects in exchange for Rodriguez.
"The Rangers have always been consistent in what our position is," Hicks said. "We love Alex. He is great player and a great team leader, but if we get something worked out, we believe it will help us be in a position to win faster."
A Rangers' official said the Red Sox appear in a position to meet the criteria for the possible trade and a contingency plan has been discussed in the event Rodriguez does not return.
The Red Sox are also making an attempt to sign their current star shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, to a contract extension, which would end their pursuit of Rodriguez. But the speculation remains that Garciaparra will be traded to Los Angeles, possibly for pitching prospects eventually headed to Texas.
The Red Sox also have pitching prospects in their organization that Texas could be interested in acquiring in the deal.
Should Rodriguez go to Boston, there is not a player in the Rangers minor league organization who is ready to assume the job of shortstop. The Rangers have said they would not prefer to move second baseman Michael Young to that position. That said, the possibility has not been completely ruled out for the right player, possibly Boston's Todd Walker.
However, Rangers officials described talks with Walker as preliminary. Among the 10 free agent shortstops remaining on the market are Rich Aurilia, Tony Womack, Deivi Cruz, and former Rangers shortstop Royce Clayton, whom Rodriguez replaced in 2001.
"We have finished last four years in a row," Hicks said. "All our fans want to do is win and all we want to do is win. We have a great nucleus of young players and the only reason we are considering this is that it puts us in a in a position to win faster. If Alex stays, we will still be on a path to winning, but we will not have the ability to address our needs as fast."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its