« Transaction | Main | Transaction »

February 16, 2004


Traded shortstop ALEX RODRIGUEZ and cash to the New York Yankees for 2B ALFONSO SORIANO and a player to be named later.

An absolute disaster, and as stark of admission of organization-wide failure as can be imagined. Placing Rodriguez on waivers might have made more sense. Had Texas merely swapped Rodriguez for Soriano straight up, they could have excused the deal as a pure salary dump. But remarkably, Texas will contribute $67 million to the $179 million due to Rodriguez. Texas will pay Rodriguez $3 million this season, $6 million in 2005 and 2006, $7 million in 2007, $8 million in 2008, $7 million in 2009, and $6 million in 2010. Also, Texas will pay the entirety of Rodriguez's remaining deferred salary of $24 million, the payments of which were pushed out five more years and at an annual rate of 1.75% compared to the 3% in the original deal.. Adding in the remaining $4 million of his signing bonus and the $12 million in deferred salary accrued from 2001-2003, the Rangers will pay Rodriguez $83 million spread over the next 22 years.

For all this, Texas gains the ever popular "financial flexibility," a term of art that means little without the wherewithal to use it properly. In 2003, this newfound flexibility is a moot point, as the time to sign worthwhile free agents has long since passed (unless Greg Maddux loses his marbles and decides that several summers in Arlington would be a fine way to close a career). This season, practically all of the savings not spent on Soriano will rest contentedly in Tom Hicks's wallet.

Alfonso Soriano is a tremendous player (if not a sabermetric darling) but doesn't remotely compare to Rodriguez, who should end up being one of the best two shortstops and perhaps one of the twenty-or-so best players in history. Soriano also earns $5.4 million this season, just over one-third of the A-Rod savings for 2004, and has two more arbitration-eligible seasons ahead. In 2006, Soriano alone could consume two-thirds of the flexibility that is supposed to make the Rangers "better, faster."

As for the PTBNL, New York has decimated its minor-league system over the last few years in its quest for the perfect team, so that player can't be more than a B-grade prospect.

Posted by Lucas at February 16, 2004 12:02 PM