King Kaufman's Sports Daily

A-Rod wins MVP, about to get a big raise. Amid the sturm und drang, it all makes sense. Plus: Houston scores second, wins MLS Cup.

By King Kaufman
November 20, 2007 5:00PM (UTC)
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There sure has been a lot of ink spilled over the Alex Rodriguez contract situation when you consider that everything that's happened has made a lot of sense.

Rodriguez, reportedly close to re-upping with the New York Yankees for 10 years and about $275 million plus some incentives, was announced Monday as the winner of the American League Most Valuable Player award, which also made a lot of sense.


As you know, Rodriguez opted out of the last three years of his 10-year, $252 million deal, which was being subsidized by the Texas Rangers to the tune of about $7 million a year as part of the trade that brought him to New York in 2004. So the Rangers are off the hook there, the one clear winner in this whole thing.

Agent Scott Boras had made noises about a new 10-year, $350 million contract, the Yankees had said they wouldn't negotiate with A-Rod if he opted out, and now that it all appears to be settling down, the Yankees are negotiating and Rodriguez is reportedly close to signing.

And the Rangers probably owe Boras a favor.


All pretty logical. A-Rod and Boras thought they could get him a raise because, as crazy as that initial contract was seven years ago, the market is crazier now, so Rodriguez, the best hitter in baseball at the moment, was something of a bargain at that rate of pay. The Yankees might be negotiating against themselves as we speak, but so what? They can afford it, and they'd be nuts to let Rodriguez walk.

All the talk about signing Mike Lowell was nonsense. Lowell had a fabulous year for Boston in 2007, a comeback from two down years. But at his best he's no Alex Rodriguez, and while he's only a year and a half older than A-Rod, he's not nearly the athlete and doesn't figure to age as well. The Red Sox just re-signed Lowell for a reported three years, $37.5 million. I bet he won't live up to that, but the Red Sox can afford it too.

Now I know nobody heard anything I just said because the A-Rod haters leaped out of their chairs roaring as soon as they heard "at his best he's no Alex Rodriguez." I see you standing on your chair, Lupica.


There's an abundance of typists and chatterers and civilians willing to go into great detail about why they'd not only rather have Mike Lowell manning third base for their favorite team than Alex Rodriguez, they'd rather have Scott Brosius.

The number of winning ballclubs these people have put together, combined: Zero. The New York Yankees? One or two, if memory serves.


I'll leave it to to explain exactly why Rodriguez is a better guy to have on your team than Lowell or, for crying out loud, Brosius. FJM owns that beat.

The CliffsNotes version is that he's a better baseball player by orders of magnitude, and that even if the A-Rod-as-choker trope were deadly accurate, even if Rodriguez were to go 0-for-the rest of his life in the postseason, he'd be worth all that money because of his regular-season performance. Getting to the playoffs is where the real money is. Everything beyond that is gravy and ego.

Gravy and ego are great, but you pay the real money to the people who make you the real money.


The Yankees don't need A-Fraud the choker, the argument goes, they need pitching. Well, if they let A-Fraud go, they're going to need even more pitching. That's how it works. One way or another, you have to score more runs than you give up. A good start: If you have a guy who's the best, or very close to the best, at creating runs and you can afford to keep him, keep him.

And because that's true, if you're that guy, and you have a chance to get a raise, you should try to get it, because you'll probably get it.

It all makes perfect sense.


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Dynamo wins MLS Cup on a Kaufman Goal [PERMALINK]

Reader John Gizis points out that the Houston Dynamo won their second straight MLS Cup over the weekend by scoring the all-important second goal on their way to a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution.


Longtime sufferers of this column will remember that incomplete and totally unsubstantiated statistical research done by readers while they should have been doing their own jobs has revealed that in low-scoring sports such as soccer and hockey, teams that score the second goal have a better winning percentage than teams that score first.

Reader Gizis goes so far as to call this second goal "the Kaufman Goal," though I would never presume to do that myself.

So what happened was the Revolution took the lead on a Taylor Twellman goal in the 20th minute, but the Dynamo rallied in the second half, tying the game with the Kaufman Goal™ in the 61st minute. Then Dwayne De Rosario, who had set up Joseph Ngwenya on the Kaufman, headed home the game-winner in the 74th.

Previous column: Patriots, Dolphins pursue perfection


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  • King Kaufman

    King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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