NEW YORK -- It's official: Alex Rodriguez is a Yankee.
Commissioner Bud Selig approved the record-setting swap, allowing the reigning American League MVP to be traded to New York by the Texas Rangers.
"I'm pretty excited. This is a big, big one," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said.
"It ranks with when we signed Reggie," he said, a reference to when slugger Reggie Jackson joined the Yankees before the 1977 season.
Texas will pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez's $252 million, 10-year contract, the most cash included in a trade in major league history. The Rangers get All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named -- but they also will pay Rodriguez through 2025.
"I am very concerned about the large amount of cash consideration involved in the transaction, and the length of time over which the cash is being paid," Selig said.
"I want to make it abundantly clear to all clubs that I will not allow cash transfers of this magnitude to become the norm. However, given the unique circumstances, including the size, length and complexity of Mr. Rodriguez's contract and the quality of the talent moving in both directions, I have decided to approve the transaction."
"Jeter is the captain. He is the leader," Steinbrenner said at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla.
Jeter didn't comment on the deal after his workout, with the team saying Steinbrenner would be the only one to speak to reporters in Tampa.
Both Jeter and Yankees manager Joe Torre were expected to attend Tuesday's news conference at Yankee Stadium to introduce Rodriguez. Torre will miss the first day of spring training.
|Alex Rodriguez will be learning a new position.(AP)|
"I was very impressed. He's an outstanding young fellow. He'll be very big in New York," Steinbrenner said.
Rodriguez, who waived his no-trade clause, was desperate to play for a winner.
"I don't think he ever thought about playing another position until the concept came up," Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, said Sunday. "He decided it didn't make a difference -- shortstop, third base, center field. He wanted the opportunity to play on a competitive team."
The Rangers will wind up paying $140 million for three seasons with Rodriguez, an average of $46.7 million annually for three last-place finishes in the AL West. The Yankees will owe him $112 million over seven years.
"Since the end of last season we said we would not trade Alex unless it made sense for our organization," Texas Rangers general manager John Hart said.
"This deal is a win-win-win situation for the Rangers, the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez. This trade is about flexibility. We've traded the best player in the game, and we're getting tremendous financial flexibility."
Baseball's biggest spenders will raise their payroll to about $190 million.
"The disparity is not healthy for the sport," Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said Sunday. "But everyone runs their team the way they see fit, and they did it by the rules."
Boras said the possibility of a trade first came up last Monday while he was talking to the Yankees about another player. Boras then called Rodriguez.
"I said, 'There may be an opportunity. We have to talk about your goals, about winning,"' Boras recalled telling his client.
"He called me back Tuesday and discussed it further and said, 'Why don't you call (Texas owner) Tom Hicks and let him know we're ready to do that,"' Boras said.
Trade talks began the following day, and the sides reached the agreement Sunday.
The Yankees will pay Rodriguez $15 million in each of the next three seasons, $16 million each in 2007 and 2008, $17 million in 2009 and $18 million in 2010, according to contract information obtained by the AP from player and management sources.
In each of the first four years, $1 million would be deferred without interest, to be paid in 2011.
The trade calls for Texas to pay $43 million of Rodriguez's salary over the remaining seven years. In addition, the Rangers will pay the $24 million remaining in deferred money from the original contract, with the interest rate lowered from 3 percent to 1.75 percent.
All the deferred money owed by Texas -- $36 million, including salaries from 2001-03 -- will be converted to an assignment bonus, which makes the money guaranteed against a strike or lockout. The payout schedule will be pushed back to 2016-25 from 2011-20.
In exchange for the alterations, which devalue the present-day value of the contract by $5 million, Rodriguez will receive a hotel suite on road trips, have the right to link his website to the Yankees' site and get a guarantee the deferred money won't be wiped out by a work stoppage.
The Associated Press News Service
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