The 5:00 deadline came and went yesterday and Alex Rodriguez was still a Texas Ranger. Both teams released statements indicating that the proposed A Rod-for-Ramirez deal is indeed dead…for now. There is speculation that both teams could revisit the trade later this winter, or during spring training. According to Gordon Edes in The Boston Globe:
Even after the deadline had passed, a high-level executive in Major League Baseball had held out the possibility an agreement could be reached. “I think there’s some hope,” he said. “I don’t know how much. Is it over for sure? I would not say that. Is there going to be a deal? I wouldn’t say that, either. I honestly can’t tell you what will happen, but there were a lot of things talked about between the teams [yesterday], and they need to sort those things out.
“Which way is it going to go? I don’t know.”
But a baseball lawyer with direct knowledge of the proceedings was more pessimistic, saying that whatever hope of getting a deal done was damaged perhaps beyond repair when Orza rejected a restructuring of Rodriguez’s contract.
“I don’t think this is going to happen,” the lawyer said. “If I had to write why in one sentence, I’d say, `Everybody thought the other guy should have done more.’ My sense of Tom Hicks right now is he can’t be leaving his best player hanging out there. The only thing worse than everybody going back to their teams is having your best player out there.”
Bob Ryan has a thoughtful piece today and suggests that the Red Sox will somehow survive without Rodriguez:
The simple truth is that the Red Sox already have had a fabulous offseason. Getting Curt Schilling, a veteran pitcher who knows what it’s like to have scaled baseball’s mountaintop, would have been a great enough move. Signing Keith Foulke, the best closer on the market, made it a spectacular winter. Signing Pokey Reese makes the team much better on defense. With Todd Walker, they would haved scored more runs. With Reese, they won’t need as many runs. Nothing in the Great Book of Baseball says a team must score 950-1,000 runs in order to win a pennant or World Series. Preventing runs is still the preferred way to go, and the Red Sox have taken steps to prevent runs — lots and lots of runs.
So Red Sox Nation doesn’t get the Christmas present it was wishing for, and yet their team has improved since they fell to the Yankees in the ALCS–they even added defensive help in signing Pokey Reese yesterday. I know I’m repeating myself here, but I won’t be completely convinced that Rodriguez is staying with the Rangers until, oh, the July 31rst trading deadline passes and he’s still in Arlington. Call me superstitious (I am), but that’s just my feeling.