In 2000, Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million contract. It was ludicrous at the time, and it still feels that way.
Now, A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras, are out for even more, opting out of his contract. Boras says he's worth more than $30 million per year, pointing out that a Rodriguez-led Yankees team will be worth more money to the Yankees-owned YES Network in the form of higher ratings and more advertising revenue.
Vince Gennaro, a consultant to teams and the author of "Diamonds and Dollars," a book about the economics of baseball, told CNN.com that A-Rod could produce $48 million per year in revenue and asset appreciation for the Yankees, allowing the team to pay him $34 million in salary, along with a 40 percent luxury tax, and still break even.
Boras believes his client is worth even more to YES. Boras is wrong. People tune in to root on their team. If the team is doing well, then the ratings will be there.
"A-Rod is a contributing factor, like all the players are," said regional network consultant Lee Berke, to CNN.com. "But he's not a big factor. The brand is much bigger than A-Rod."
Here's Boras' bigger problem. The Yankees now don't seem to want his client back. If they don't believe in paying that kind of money, then there's a chance that Rodriguez will have to scale back his demands.
Boras is sticking to his guns, telling USA Today: "There are the teams that you'd assume would be interested, and there are surprises. But I'm not going to acknowledge what teams are interested or involved. If they want to acknowledge it, that's fine, but it won't come from me."
Three-quarters of the league can't even think about being able to afford him. That leaves the $100 million payroll club, which includes the two New York teams, the two Chicago teams, the two Los Angeles teams, Boston and Seattle. Cross off the Cubs, who are for sale and has a good third baseman in Aramis Ramirez. Boston is very unlikely, provided they re-sign Mike Lowell, and the Red Sox don't need the PR bump. A-Rod is already making New York fans mad - and do the Mets want to move David Wright to another position? And Rodriguez has rejected Seattle before.
So it looks like the two L.A. teams are the likely locations. Joe Torre is now a Dodger. They're the favorites.
For less than $30 million a year, I bet.