ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is prepared to meet and greet.
Agent Scott Boras used this week’s general managers’ meetings to give teams his sales pitch for A-Rod and was pleased with how it went.
“With regard to Alex, we got some very clear direction from clubs as to where their interest is,” Boras said Thursday after the four-day session ended.
Given that Rodriguez terminated a record $252 million, 10-year contract to seek even greater riches, this won’t be a deal signed off on at the GM level.
“I fully expect that with this type of player, that the owner will want to sit down and talk with him,” Boras said.
When the New York Yankees asked for a meeting before Rodriguez opted out, Boras told them they’d have to make a $350 million offer just to speak with Rodriguez.
The Los Angeles Angels said they’re interested in A-Rod, who appears likely to win his third AL MVP award this month. Other possible suitors, such as the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, are taking a more wait-and-see approach with their public comments.
The players’ union said Thursday it was concerned with “reports stating that the commissioner is attempting to influence the market for at least one player,” and a person familiar with the union’s statement said the player in question was Rodriguez. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the statement didn’t refer to A-Rod by name.
Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations in the commissioner’s office, denied that there was any improper conduct.
There was only one trade at the meetings: The Philadelphia Phillies acquired closer Brad Lidge and infielder Eric Bruntlett from Houston on Wednesday night for outfielder Michael Bourn, pitcher Geoff Geary and minor league third baseman Mike Costanzo.
But other deals are percolating at various levels. Florida dangled All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who interests the Yankees and perhaps the Angels and Dodgers.
Several teams would want two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, but the Minnesota Twins say he’s not available and they’re trying to work out an extension before he can become a free agent after the 2008 season. If he becomes available in a few weeks, the Mets likely would be interested.
“I don’t think people are waiting for something to happen. You can’t wait around too long in this marketplace,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.
Before leaving town, GMs decided base coaches will wear some sort of head protection next season, a move that came four months after Mike Coolbaugh was killed by a line drive while coaching first base in a Double-A game.
“There was a sentiment that as a concept this was a good idea,” said Joe Garagiola Jr., senior vice president for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office.
GMs will decide on the exact form of protection when they meet next month at the winter meetings.
“We’re going to come back in Nashville with some options: liners, hard caps, helmets without flaps, helmets with flaps,” Garagiola said.