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Alex Rodriguez confirmed to the Associated Press Friday that long-time agent Scott Boras is no longer representing him.  Boras had been A-Rod’s agent for his entire major league career, starting in 1993.

With A-Rod in the third year of a 10 Year, $275 Million contract with the Yankees, coupled with the low number of endorsements A-Rod has, means he most likely won’t need an agent for the remainder of his career.  At the very least, he will not need an agent of Boras’ stature.

Rodriguez told the AP that there was nothing specific that led to the separation, simply saying “some of the things I needed 20 years ago I really don’t need now.”

Rodriguez actually negotiated his last contract with the Yankees after a falling out with Boras and the way he was handling A-Rod’s free agency.  It’s been rumored that the Yankees had initially been prepared to pay him in excess off $300 Million over ten years had Rodriguez not opted out of the final three years of his previous deal.  Instead, Boras announced that Rodriguez had opted out in the middle of Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, a move that generated criticism across the sport.

Boras seemed to misunderstand the market for A-Rod and when no other teams bit at Boras’ demands of $300+++ Million, Rodriguez started communications with the Yankee directly and ended up negotiating the current 10-year deal.

It’s unknown how much their relationship has soured since that fateful offseason and if it has played any part in this separation almost 3 years later.

For awhile there, I still thought Johnny Damon could end up with the Yankees.  Now, it does not look like that is even remotely possible.

Like another Scott Boras client did in 2008-09 off-season, I think Damon (and Boras) have overestimated the market for Damon and how much $$ he would be offered.  I’ll tell you one thing – he isn’t going to get the $13 Million yearly on a multi-year deal that he was hoping for.  ESPN’s Andrew Marchand has already reported that there is zero chance Damon returns.  He says the Yankees have already spent the money they had planned for Damon initially.

Several Yankee officials have said they planned to cut payroll and with payroll already approaching $205 Million compared to last season’s $211 Million, there is not much room to keep payroll below last year’s numbers.

It’s sad to see Damon go – I thought he was a great Yankee, but like Boras did with Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, it seems he has overestimated the market for one of his star players and ends up costing them millions waiting for “better deals.”

I wonder if this means Boras’ days as a super-agent maybe coming to an end.  Other baseball players must be noticing this trend.

The Battle Begins: Yankee Brass vs. Scott Boras

I’m calling this story the “Life and Times of an older Yankee free agent outfielder: Part II.”

Part I happened last year.  After two and half season manning the right side outfield of Yankee stadium, Bobby Abreu was all but shunned by the Yankees Brass and had to sign with the LA Angels – for $5 million – $11 Million less than he had earned the season before.  Well, Abreu didn’t devalue as a player and ended up being a steal for the Angels, who re-signed him in this offseason for almost double – 2 years and $19 Million.

Fast forward to this year and we are just getting into Part II of this story, only the new leading man is Johnny Damon, the likable guy who has manned the Yankee outfield for most of the last 4 seasons.  Coming off a 4-year, $52 Million contract that he signed with the Yankees in the 2005-6 off-season, Damon and his agent Scott Boras are looking for a new deal in the 3-4 year range – a deal that would presumably be the last of the 36 year-old’s career.

Although I would guess that a large majority of Yankee fans would love to see Damon back in pinstripes for the near future, it would be irresponsible to sign him to a 3-4 year deal at his age.  Right now, the man is still quick in the outfield and can play 150 games a season, but at 36, it’s very hard to pinpoint when he might start degrading as an outfielder.

I realize that many might argue that Damon could be a DH in his later years, but a good GM has to look at what the main pieces of his team are going to be like in 2-3 years.  Derek Jeter turns 36 this June and Alex Rodrgiuez turns 35 this July.  Both are most definitely going to be with the Yankees for as long as they play the game of baseball.

In 2-3 years, the DH is going to be an interesting position for the Yankees – I would guess it’s mostly going to be a combination of Jeter, Rodriguez and one other player.  The Yankee skipper will have to be able to give Jeter and Rodriguez days off from playing the field as they get slower and worse at defense.  Plus, I don’t care what people think – Derek Jeter will never play another position except shortstop.  Mark it down now.

That being said, let’s get back to the topic at hand: Johnny Damon.  What I just wrote above shows the Yankees would be silly-stupid to consider signing Damon for longer than 2 years.  I’m not saying right now that the Yankees should dump Damon after the two years, but instead, look at what the situation is then.

Using Abreu’s new contract as a measuring stick, Damon may not be worth much more than 2 years, $18 Million.  His agent, Scott Boras has said he is looking for a multi-year deal – which is probably in Damon’s best interest, but it’s not and shouldn’t come from the Yankees.  He might get some other team to do it, but will they offer the same amount of money per year that the Yankees would offer in shorter 1-2 year deal?  Probably not.

This scenario will play out over the course of the next few weeks behind shut doors mostly, with leaks coming from here and there. and hopefully it ends up with Damon starting in the #2 spot in the lineup next season.  But, it will come down to the nitty-gritty fighting skills of Yanks GM Brian Cashman and super-agent Boras.

Now…where’s that steel cage??

Now that the Yankees appear to have finished their spending spree this offseason, attention turns to the rest of the free agent pool.  Most notably, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi.  (Disclaimer:  I never really assume the Yankees have ever stopped spending money, that’s why I used the word “appear.”)  But back to the free agents.

Buster Olney addresses the Ramirez situation quite nicely in his blog.  How can any team offer him what he wants (4 years $100 Million) when it doesn’t need to and because of the risk involved.  ESPN has reported that the Dodgers have reopened negotiations with Ramirez, although its doubted they will offer him the $22.5 Million per season they had in November.   Since the only top outfielders left are Abreu and Dunn, its clear that no other outfielder will get anywhere above $14 Million – thus simple economics teaches us that the price for Ramirez should come down, possibly to around $18 Million.

But then again, here we are questioning the risk behind having Ramirez on your team: How do we know Manny will play hard; especially if he is given a salary less then he wanted?  Because of this, Olney asks in his blog if it would be worth it for the Dodgers to overpay for Ramirez in order to ensure he is happy and plays hard.  This is a tough question to ask and supports why I was scared when I heard the Yankees were interested in Ramirez and Derek Jeter say Manny would be a good fit for the team.  Scared because the man is too volatile.  He has amazing skill, but not the attitude the Yankees need or want.  We needed a work horse.  The type of guy that Sabathia and Teixeira embody.  Not a guy who takes a bathroom break in the green monster during a stoppage in play.

Its in this situation, that I am glad I am not a general manager.  Ramirez at his best would be a great addition to any team but how do we know we get the best every game?  Or even at least half of them?  Is an extra $7 Million/year worth it?

So here comes Adam Dunn into the situation.  Dunn has quietly made himself into quite the commodity.  Not the most amazing player but someone who is a decent hitter and can be an average outfielder.  Best of all, he probably comes at a bargain price of $12-14 Million, simply because of how horrible the market is for outfielders.  This is a steal.

Then we are left with Bobby Abreu.  Poor, poor Bobby Abreu.  The man made a cool $16 Million with the Yankees last season.  This year, he’ll be lucky to get $10 Million.  Olney thinks he’ll get $8 Mil.  Either way, that’s a steal.  The man was clutch for the Yankees last year, one of our only consistent hitters.  He is slow on defense, but most corner outfielders are these days.

The market is even bad for pitchers and infielders.  Very few teams seem to be interested in Derek Lowe, and Scott “obnoxious” Boras (Lowe’s agent) wanted $18 Million for him.  Granted Boras always wants the moon and the stars for his clients, but still, the market for Lowe is very, well, low.  Only the Mets appear to have made an offer, and that’s rumored to be in the $12 Mil/year range.

And Jason Giambi – who, by the way, I still think should call Hal Steinbrenner up and say, “Listen, I owe you guys for paying me $160 Million over eight seasons, even though I was only worth it for 2 because I turned out to be a juicer who lost his power when I stopped the juice. So, I will play for you for free,”  Giambi will be lucky to get double digit millions.  And I cannot find any team who appears to be interested in him at this point.  He is 38 and a former juicer.  At the most, he’s got 2 years left.  And that’s not saying much, considering he’ll probably hit only .260.

A couple of days ago at his charity event, Derek Jeter mentioned Manny Ramirez and how he’d fit with the team. Nothing was said about Mark Teixeira.

Well, one writer at SI, Lee Jenkins has already said that Tex will be a perfect fit for the Yankees.

Teammates joke that they have never seen him with a five-o-clock shadow, an un-tucked shirt, a hair out of place. One general manager describes him as “corporate” and “businesslike.” Teixiera describes himself as “obsessive compulsive.” Scott Boras, his agent, says Teixeira has “the make-up of a CEO.” Some may be turned off that Teixeira does not often hang around the clubhouse after games, pounding beers and telling stories. But the Yankees, who pride themselves on their professional work environment, will not mind.

Tex means business, and so do the Yankees. It’s that obvious.

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