A. Rodriguez wins AL MVP, confirms he could be traded

Rangers shortstop tops Jays' Delgado by 29 points


November 18, 2003|By David Lennon | David Lennon,NEWSDAY

On the day that Alex Rodriguez was named the American League's Most Valuable Player, it was difficult to determine what means more to the All-Star shortstop: vindication by the baseball writers, or his liberation from the woeful Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez kept trying to steer reporters back to the MVP award during yesterday's conference call, but his deteriorating situation in Texas has become far more compelling now that he is helping to orchestrate his exit from the Rangers.

Rodriguez, who has a full no-trade clause built into his $252 million contract, admitted yesterday that he has spoken with team officials about working on a deal that would deliver him to a club of his choosing.

Rodriguez didn't provide specific details yesterday, but the Boston Red Sox are believed to be at the top of his list, followed by the Chicago Cubs and even the New York Yankees.

Rodriguez is the second player from a last-place team to win the MVP; Andre Dawson won the National League award in 1987 with the Cubs.

Rodriguez edged Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado, 242-213, in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada finished third with 194 points.

Showing the split among the writers, 10 players received first-place votes, one short of the record set in the 1977 AL vote and matching the total in the 1947 NL vote. Rodriguez was the only player picked on every ballot.

Regarding the situation in Texas, Rodriguez said: "Management has approached me with a situation and some choices, and I'm just going to keep my doors open right now. That's obviously a situation where I have those choices. I did not approach management - management approached me."

Said Rangers general manager John Hart: "We've made it very clear that we think Alex is going to be here. At the same time, we're not going to turn the phones off."

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported yesterday that the relationship between Rodriguez and Texas manager Buck Showalter is "on the outs," with Rodriguez not returning any of Showalter's phone calls this offseason.

Rodriguez declined to comment on that, but he did not deny it.

"I've really just been enjoying my vacation, my off-time," said Rodriguez, speaking from Mexico. "This is my first year married now, so I don't have so much time on my hands to be calling Tom and bothering other people in our organization. Now I have to really take care of home, and that's a lot more fun."

Rodriguez, 28, finished second in the MVP balloting twice before, losing to the Rangers' Juan Gonzalez in 1996 and the Oakland Athletics' Miguel Tejada last season.

He won it this year with one of his worst performances, at least by his lofty standards, batting .298 while leading the AL with 47 homers, 124 runs and a .600 slugging percentage. Those numbers make Rodriguez coveted by any team in the majors, but his contract status - he has seven years, $189 million remaining - makes him appealing to a few.

The Yankees figure to be involved because they could shoulder his salary, but it would be a sticky situation, both because of a position switch and his lapsed friendship with Derek Jeter.

"I'm just going to wait and see what happens," Rodriguez said. "I'm not closing any books on anyone or anything. It's been a rough three years in Texas. I've been fighting hard for this. ... As far as New York or all that stuff that's out there right now, I'm just going to keep an open mind."

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.