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A-Rod/Yankee Talks: What Part Did Goldman Sachs Play?

Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 | 4:55 PM ET

It has pretty much been an all-Boras day here for me at CNBC. The latest issue I'm trying to get into is the Goldman Sachs part of this all. I've received a bunch of e-mails from readers asking me about this, so I'm going to try to tackle it.

For those of you who didn't know, A-Rod's personal meeting with the Yankees was reportedly arranged with the help of two higher ups at Goldman Sachs. They contacted Yanks president Randy Levine who facilitated the meeting.

Reader Jack Delehanty asks: "Do you think this means the company may have offered to subsidize part of the contract? Is such a thing even permitted in MLB?"

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Jack, that's a very interesting question. In fact, if you recall, when this all started, the way Boras was going to get his big numbers was by trumping up A-Rod's value to the television network. And Boras himself mentioned that if the Yankees weren't willing to put up the biggest bucks, they could get some help from their partners at Goldman Sachs, who owns 40 percent of the YES Network.

I think the fact that A-Rod himself contacted the folks at Goldman Sachs once again suggests that this wasn't part of Scott Boras' plan. Rodriguez would probably feel awkward about asking Boras for Levine's cell phone number. (Note: Probably the only number that I have that A-Rod apparently didn't.) So this was probably the best go-between method he had.

I don't believe the Yankees really believe that A-Rod is worth that much more to their television network. I guess if Goldman Sachs did believe A-Rod added value, they could technically chip in, but there's already been a sense that they are not in the YES Network for the long haul--beyond the six years they've been in it. Goldman has been testing the marketplace for the right offer in order to sell it and I doubt they'd be interested in adding debt to that investment any time soon.

I've also received questions concerning the union's gripe that A-Rod will negotiate without Boras. That's actually not the issue. The issue is the Yankees reportedly saying that they won't negotiate with Boras there. That's not allowed. But Alex Rodriguez, should he choose, could decide not to bring to negotiations.

The question would then become, will the union insist that Boras shows up as long as he's an A-Rod client? In other words, if A-Rod decides not to bring Boras even though the Yankees tell everyone they're fine with him (wink, wink, nod, nod) can the union still make a deal about it?

To reiterate, Boras told us today that he has been charged with negotiating for Rodriguez going forward, so this seems to be a non-isuse.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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