November 17, 2007

How Much is $1 Worth?

(Hold on to this idea for a moment: New York City has a very large diplomatic community, many of whom live and work in the city on very low salaries.)

Barring a major meltdown, Alex Rodriguez will play for the Yankees in 2008. It's also generally accepted that the total compensation of his new deal will eclipse the mammoth contract he signed back in 2001 with the Texas Rangers. And while Rodriguez's new contract will take care of the next ten generations of his family, why did he sign for so much? Is he that insecure about his ability? Or are the Steinbrenners that nervous that he'd jump to a rival? (And for the record, much of the Red Sox fan base hates Rodriguez with such a passion that it would have been a very risky move had the Sox tried to sign him.)

Signing for that much not only makes him look greedy beyond compare, it forever boxes him into a corner: if he screws up, he's a monstrously overpaid duffer. If he wins the MVP but fails in the postseason, he's a major letdown. And in the unlikely situation that the Yankees win the World Series despite his usual unfocused postseason performance, he's a deadweight. He's put himself in a no-win situation.

It's come out that Warren Buffett advised Rodriguez to sidestep his agent and approach the Yankees on his own. Now let's go back to my original thought. What if Rodriguez had gone down to Tampa, cap in hand, and asked for a symbolic salary of, say, $1?

I don't know how long Buffett talked to Rodriguez. But hopefully the idea of doing well versus doing good came up. If he had signed for a symbolic $1 salary, not only would he have become the ultimate Yankee and consummate international baseball diplomat overnight, Rodriguez would have set the press and the public on its ear, showing them that he was really playing for love of the game.

What is he playing for now?


Anonymous said...

Nice thought, but A-Rod is a member of the Player's Association, and the extent to which he gets the most money he can helps to put pressure on the market and raise salaries for all of his fellow players - even those earning squat in the minors. The PA would never let him sign for a ceremonial amount, as "human" as it would make him look. He's helping thousands of (marginal) baseball players make a bit more by being greedy.

I hate him, btw.

sd myers said...

arod is one of the most talented players in history and guess what he plays for the man with a very large wallet who is willing to pay his price....if you were in his shoes you would take the money too!!! leave the man alone and stop looking at him as if he were GOD!!! he is just a man with a talent to play a game!!!!

The Man said...

He plays for what I work for and that is the money. Nothing wrong with going with the money. Baseball has long since stopped being just a kid's game; it is a part of the entertainment industry as well. No one raises an eyebrow when someone like Denzel Washington makes $15 million a picture. No one calls Harrison Ford greedy for the millions he makes. Baseball players are entitled to a piece of the pie as well.