NY Mets Won't Pursue Rodriguez

ByABC News
November 14, 2000, 10:33 AM

Nov. 14 -- Shortstop Alex Rodriguez, perhaps the most desirable free agent ever to hit the open market, wont be playing for the New York Mets.

The Mets have decided to pass on picking up Rodriguez, saying the All-Stars contract requests would make him unable to fit in with the rest of the team.

Its about 25 players working as a team, general manager Steve Phillips said. The 24 plus one-man structure really doesnt work. I dont mean to cast aspersions on Alex Rodriguez. But Idont think you can give different rules and separate one playerfrom the rest of the team.

Rodriguez is expected to command $20 million or more a year, which would make him the highest-paid athlete in professional sports. But agent Scott Boras has outlined several other contract demands including use of a chartered plane and a tent at spring training for the sole purpose of selling Rodriguez merchandise that made the Mets balk at trying to acquire the 25-year-old player.

Im a big A-Rod fan, and I think hes the complete package, but I think he has to be careful about how he goes about his business, said Brandon Steiner, president of the New York-based Steiner Sports Marketing. Its still a team game, and he has to be careful not to insult the establishment that hes a part of. It could hurt his image, which is squeaky clean now.

Indeed, Phillips said such perks wouldnt work ona team that already has stars like Mike Piazza, Al Leiter andEdgardo Alfonzo.

It would compromise the fabric of the team, Phillips said.It might be different in a different city without the samecaliber of players. I understand why Scott is asking for it. He [Rodriguez] isa very unique player who is one of the best or the best in thegame.

Boras, who pointed out that Piazzas contract gives him useof a luxury suite if the Mets build a new stadium, said he has notasked for special treatment.