So, not only are you resetting the salary bar, you're paying a player $20 million per season more than the league's elite players. Those economics just don't add up - a team with $35 million per season to spend on free agents could add Torii Hunter and Jorge Posada - thus filling two holes in a lineup - and still have money left over.
You might pay $35 million for an .300 hitter with 50 homers who happens to be a Gold Glove shortstop, but Rodriguez hasn't played short in four years, and he was a sub-par third baseman in 2006, so expecting him to suddenly play shortstop adequately is a risk. Then again, it may be the only way to squeeze decent value from such a contract.
So where is all this money going to come from? How about a crazy mid-market owner looking to make a splash? Let's ask Tom Hicks and the Texas Rangers how well that worked out. No, only the sport's true mega-markets will be bidding for ARod this time around. The problem with that, if you're Scott Boras, is that the team that is perennially at the top of that list is the same team you just opted out of playing for. When the biggest lush at the party starts turning down drinks, suddenly your wild free agent kegger gets a whole lot less wild.
With the Yankees out of the picture, where else could Rodriguez land? The Mets have the money and would love to stick it to their cross-town rivals, but they have a Gold Glove third baseman in 24-year-old David Wright, and a stud shortstop in Jose Reyes. Bringing in ARod to play first would be monumentally stupid - then again, this is the Mets.
I'm not a huge believer in chemistry, but it's hard to imagine the Red Sox signing the man who once traded blows with Jason Varitek in Fenway Park. The Sox would also like to stick it to the Yankees, but why not just hand the $35 million to World Series MVP Mike Lowell for, say, three years. He provides more leather at the hot corner and less douchebaggery.
The Cubs could use a shortstop, but they just went on a spending spree last winter and might not be willing to do so again, while the Dodgers could certainly use a bat - but does Joe Torre really want an ARod reunion? The LA Angels have plenty of cash and a penchant for Hispanic superstars, but they also have Chone Figgins, who had a terrific year - so it's not like there's a gaping wound to fill.
All of these potential suitors - and there aren't many - have to ask themselves if this is truly the best way to spend $35 million. Then, of course, there's the little matter of the term of the contract. Boras isn't looking for $35 million, he's looking for $350. Minimum. As good as he is, Rodriguez is 32 years old - does anyone really want to be paying him $100 million after his 40th birthday?
For these reasons, I can't see Boras getting his asking price - or anything close to it. When you factor in his exit from the Rangers, the talk of clubhouse dissent in New York, Strippergate, the glove-slap, the Fenway brawl, the Howie Clark incident, and three disappointing post-season performances in a row, I don't think there will be nearly the fervor that existed when the 25-year-old ARod first hit free agency. 5-years/$150 million is a possibilty, or perhaps something even shorter, but if Boras is really insisting on $350 million just to talk, he may find his calendar wide open.
It would be refreshing to see baseball's highest paid player and most powerful agent humbled into softening their demands to find work next season. They may well have to, because MVP or not, Rodriguez isn't $350 million good.
Oddly enough, the best fit for Rodriguez is probably the Blue Jays. They have a huge offensive hole at shortstop, and would get excellent value out of inserting his bat there, regardless of his defense. He's also hit .320 with a .700 slugging percentage in 74 games at the Rogers Centre. Give him a full season there, and he probably breaks the AL home run record. Plus, we know he likes the strippers. With the Canadian dollar at an all-time high, it wouldn't be completely insane for J.P. Ricciardi to offer ARod a short-term mega-deal - say $80 million over two years. Plus an extra million for Matt Stairs, so he doesn't kill him.