Earlier today, I spoke with Scott Boras about his client Alex Rodriguez. Here's what he had to say.
Darren: Obviously you spent the last three days with your client Alex Rodriguez. Do you have a decision as to whether a-rod will opt out of his Yankees contract and test the free market?
Boras: The first step is Alex and his wife Cynthia were going to sit down and take information and then head back home and take some time off and deliberate over the information we've given them and then when the time comes I’m sure Alex will inform me of any actions he wants to proceed with.
Darren: The Yankees have said they will not compete with other teams if a-rod opts out. Number one, do you believe that? And if you do, how does that affect your negotiating game with potentially the Yankees, the number one bidder out?
Boras: Well, in the right structure, I think that you have to look at what each party has the right to do and certainly, an employer has the right to choose or not to choose to bid on employee. In Alex’s case when he was acquired from Texas, his contract had four years to run and the Yankees were fully aware that he had the right to opt out. Certainly, Alex enjoys playing in New York and has said so and I think both parties are fully aware of the rights of one another.
Darren: I want to get to some of the numbers, you say Alex would be worth more than $500 million dollars over ten to 12 years when you consider his value to the Yankees attendance and the yes network. You've been questioned on the network calculations and some saying that a-rod's loss maybe wouldn't hurt the network as much. Explain your future value calculations especially on the yes network part where the Yankees own a piece of that.
Boras: Whenever you have an individual athlete in a team sport, many people--take those who are employed by the network--the regional sports networks are going to tell you that ratings are about winning. Interestingly enough, after the Yankees had won three World Series in four years in 2000, after achieving that and beating the Mets, their attendance went down by over 250,000 fans. What you're talking about is that a club that prior to Alex arriving drew its best in history, 3.4 million and last year, after four years of being there, the Yankees have now reached a record attendance where in Yankee history they've never reached 4 million and done it twice resulting in 4.2 million fans.
Darren: How about on the network side?
Boras: Prior to him arriving and the yes network being in existence for three years, and winning and being in the world series, and a level that the Yankees had not achieved since 2004, the ratings are dramatically higher than those days and they are-- went from 3.2 to 4.7. What this does for network value we've seen in the open market where the value of the franchise of the network franchise has gone from $1 billion upon his arrival to over $3 billion and no one is suggesting that that is solely the result of Alex Rodriguez playing for the New York Yankees, however, the residual increase and the fact that more than something than winning has gone on in New York. And the ratings have skyrocketed clearly suggests that there is a relationship between Alex’s multiple, well, potential multiple MVP's in New York and this historic performance compared to the Yankee players and the fan interest.
Darren: Is this all about top dollar or would it have anything to do with potentially whether Joe Torre comes back or not?
Boras: Alex has had a great relationship with Joe and the only manager he's known and certainly an advocate of Joe. What I think this is about is fairness much like when Wayne Gretzky came to Los Angeles and a network that was not owned by an owner contributed dramatically to the owner on the player's behalf because he showed great success and the yes network showed great success and in their future I think it would be continued. I think the biggest issue here for everyone involved is that you have two very, very successful entities and you have the marketplace that is in great demand.