The big trade - Sox say no go, Rangers say maybe

Friday, December 19, 2003

NEW YORK -- The Alex Rodriguez trade is "dead," or so the Boston Red Sox say. The Texas Rangers still have hope.

Just hours after commissioner Bud Selig ended talks to restructure the shortstop's $252 million contract Thursday, the Red Sox said Manny Ramirez would not be sent to Texas for the AL MVP.

The Rangers, though, believed they could rekindle the swap of the two highest-paid players in baseball.

"There is a likelihood the deal is dead," Texas general manager John Hart said. "But at the same time, we haven't issued a statement that it's completely dead."

Rangers owner Tom Hicks would probably talk to the Red Sox to try to work out an agreement after all, Hart said.

Boston and Rodriguez had tried to rework the deal so it would be acceptable to the players' union, which rejected the changes Wednesday.

Selig had set a 5 p.m. deadline for an agreement. It passed without a deal, and the commissioner ended the talks.

"The proposed trade between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers is dead," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. "The players' association's intransigence and the arbitrary nature of its action are responsible for the deal's demise today."

After Rodriguez and Boston reached an agreement Wednesday, the union refused it, saying it reduced the value of the contract, the highest in professional sports history.

"It's unfortunate that the players' association felt it necessary to take a legal position which prevented the player and at least two teams from effectuating an agreement that they felt was beneficial," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

While management's top labor lawyer had hinted that Selig might approve the rejected deal, Rodriguez made clear Thursday morning he would go to Boston only with an agreement that met the union's approval.

Because Rodriguez has a no-trade clause, a deal can't happen without his approval.

"In the spirit of cooperation, I advised the Red Sox I am willing to restructure my contract, but only within the guidelines prescribed by union officials," Rodriguez said in a statement he read to The Associated Press. "I fully support the need to protect the interests of fellow players."

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