A-Rod discusses future in New York
Third baseman says he wants to remain a Yankee after 2007
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez's 2007 season is a "do-or-die situation," he told the New York radio station WFAN in an interview Tuesday.
The Yankees third baseman also revealed that he could have been dealt to "probably five or six" other clubs over the offseason, but chose to remain in New York -- for at least one more year, assuming the best possible outcome.
"It's a do-or-die situation," Rodriguez told WFAN's Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. "At some point, either New York is going to say, 'I've had enough of this guy, get him the [heck] out of here, and we have an option.'
"Or New York is going to say, 'Hey, we won a world championship, you had a big year, you're a part of it. We want you back.'"
After this season, Rodriguez can trigger an opt-out clause that would release him from the final three years of a 10-year, $252 million contract signed with the Texas Rangers following the 2000 campaign.
When interviewed by reporters Tuesday at Legends Field during the Yankees' 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Rodriguez called the WFAN interview a "dogfight" and compared his session with Francesa and Russo to an at-bat against Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson.
"I was just basically doing the best I [could] for 15 minutes," Rodriguez said. "Those were some pretty crazy questions. It probably felt like an hour, being under the gun there."
Rodriguez did not back off his characterization of the 2007 campaign as "do-or-die," but said that he hoped to next address the topic sometime in late October. Rodriguez noted that he has been consistent for months in stating that he wants to be in New York.
"One-hundred percent of the time," Rodriguez said. "That's what I want to focus on. I would love to finish my career here."
Rodriguez told Francesa and Russo that he considered leaving the Yankees for "half a second," but after conferring with his wife, Cynthia, he instead vowed that his mission with the Yankees is not complete.
"I know I had a lot of options to go to several teams this offseason, probably five or six," Rodriguez said. "I chose to be in New York."
With the opt-out clause looming, Rodriguez volunteered to the radio station that he has considered the postscript on his Yankees career if he does indeed invoke the clause. He offered an example, assuming Rodriguez and the Yankees reach their dual goals of great successes this year.
"If I go and have four years in New York and I win two MVPs and one World Series, I think that's a pretty good job," Rodriguez said. "It's not the end of the world."
While Rodriguez was consistent in both the WFAN interview and with print reporters on his insistence that he wants to play in New York, he said that he "never [wants] to feel like you're holding a team hostage" and that he wants "to make sure from the fans [and] management [that] I'm wanted here."
Rodriguez said that his goal in the interviews was to be as honest and possible to reflect his sincere feelings on the situation.
"Again, you're asking me about what my sincere feelings [are]? One-hundred percent, I want to stay in New York City," Rodriguez said. "Period, that's it. I don't know how many more ways I can say that."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.