ORLANDO, Fla. -- For sale: MVP third baseman.
Asking price: $350 million and up.
Given the cost, there's not a whole lot of teams admitting they're after Alex Rodriguez, at least publicly.
"We don't have any interest," Detroit president Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday at the general managers' meetings.
"Doesn't make a lot of sense," said Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry.
"I'm not sure it makes sense for us to potentially have a player that takes up most if not all of our on-field payroll," Florida Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.
Sure, A-Rod would inject instant offense to a franchise, sell tickets and likely increase television ratings. But agent Scott Boras wanted a $350 million offer just to give the New York Yankees a meeting with Rodriguez. And that was before he opted out of his record $252 million, 10-year contract and became a free agent.
When Rodriguez signed his big deal with Texas after the 2000 season, the Rangers weren't able to put a quality lineup around him.
"When you commit a significant part of your wherewithal to one position, no matter how good that position is, it limits your ability to compete across the rest of the playing field," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer. "So it's not just an economic analysis about what a pitcher who pitches every five days or a position player who might hit 50 home runs might do in terms of people coming to see that performer, but it's also about what is that going to do to the level of talent that you're going to be able to field across the rest of the roster."
GMs never say absolutely no, not in a million years. But the tone is clear, at least for now.
"We're really trying to sign Mike back as our third baseman," Red Sox general manager Theo Esptein said, referring to World Series MVP Mike Lowell. "If he eventually signs somewhere else, we'll look at our other alternatives. But right now we're trying to bring him back."
And what about returning A-Rod to his original position?
"We have a shortstop," Epstein said, not needing to add that Julio Lugo could be traded if the Red Sox did sign Rodriguez.
Dombrowski was one of the first GMs to make a big offseason trade, acquiring All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria from the Atlanta Braves for two prospects.
"We filled our spot when we acquired Renteria," Dombrowski said.
While the Marlins had the next-to-lowest opening payroll in the major leagues at $30.5 million, they've been mentioned as a possible A-Rod destination because he lives in the Miami area.
"We get mentioned in a lot of things," Beinfest said. "Maybe you put two and two together because of where he lives."
Hendry said the Cubs aren't interested because they have Aramis Ramirez at third base and other priorities.
"He's a tremendous player. Anybody would love to have him on their ballclub," Hendry said. "But we feel great about our third baseman and we've committed a tremendous amount of money to three or four long-term contracts. And for the needs that we have, as great as he is, we have to address some other issues. And to tie up that much of payroll, when you already have an All-Star at third base, doesn't make a lot of sense."
New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya has been circumspect in his comments, refusing to rule out A-Rod but not ruling him in. He just says he has David Wright at third and Jose Reyes at shortstop, and will discuss all possible fits when he meets with agents.
While Minaya said Monday he had not yet met with Boras, he wouldn't answer that question Tuesday and laughed about whether he had received a briefing book on free agents -- Boras is famous in baseball for preparing detailed binders filled with statistics.
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who just signed Joe Torre as his manager, has said his team has not yet determined its level of interest in Rodriguez.
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