What began as a casual, joking conversation between Yankees president Randy Levine and Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about the possibility of Alex Rodriguez playing for the Marlins may become serious trade talks this offseason, according to a source with awareness of the conversation.
According to the source, Levine and Loria debated the chance of A-Rod playing in Miami, his hometown, but characterized it as a joke between old friends.
However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he’s had no trade talks re Rodriguez with anybody and described the 1st report as “false.”
“I have had no discussions whatsoever with the (Miami) Marlins,” Cashman said. “Certainly would never have any trade discussions given the circumstances. I actually have not had any discussions with any GMs aside from the pregame meetings with Dan Duquette with the Orioles, with the umpires and then with Dave Dombrowski (of the Tigers). But I’ve had no trade discussions, so fake, 100% false.”
According to the source, Loria claimed in his conversation about A-Rod with Levine, “Alex is Mr. Miami; it’d be great if he played here for us.” To which Levine is alleged to have responded, “You can have him.”
A 2nd source with knowledge of Rodriguez’s thinking related the likely only place Rodriguez eventually would accept a trade to is Miami. Rodriguez has 5 years and $114 million remaining on his contract, not including milestone home run bonuses. Levine refused to directly comment on the conversation with Loria or what it would probably take to trade Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has been marginalized in the Yankees’ lineup this postseason. He entered Wed. night 3 for 23, including 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers, and continually has been benched and pinch hit for in the playoffs. He was not in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series last Wed. night before it was put off because of the threat of rain. Basketball odds
“For our entire fan base: Let’s root for Alex, the contract is what it is, and he’s there, and we are hoping he gets hot,” Levine told O’Connor. “It is part of what we deal with all of the time, just like any other contract.”
It is not unprecedented for Levine, together with ownership, to lead a deal. Two winters gone, the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano after Cashman had ruled out the possibility. Levine, with backing from owner Hal Steinbrenner, brokered a deal for the right-hander.
The query that still needs to be answered is how much of the contract the Yankees would be pleased to eat. The Marlins may need the Yankees to take reliever Heath Bell, who is owed $18 million over the following 2 years, plus has a team option for $9 million for 2015. He may have some use for the Yankees because Soriano may back out of his agreement after this season.
Bell may provide insurance for Mariano Rivera’s return as the team’s closer. If Rivera is fine, Bell could team with David Robertson to set up Rivera.