Yankees Looking To Meet With A-Rod

Friday, October 26th 2007, 7:27 pm
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ The New York Yankees are trying to set up a meeting with Alex Rodriguez while they work on picking a manager. Rodriguez has until the 10th day following the World Series to decide whether to opt out of his record $252 million, 10-year contract and become a free agent. The Yankees plan to offer him an extension and say they would drop out of talks if A-Rod opts out.

Hank Steinbrenner, a son of owner George Steinbrenner, said Friday the club probably will meet soon with Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras.

``The fact of the matter is, obviously we want him to stay,'' Hank Steinbrenner said. ``And I think he wants to stay.''

Rodriguez had a major league-best 54 homers and 156 RBIs this season, numbers that likely will earn him a third AL MVP award.

He is guaranteed salaries of $24 million in each of the next three seasons from the Yankees, who receive $21.3 million from Texas as part of the 2004 trade that brought A-Rod to New York. If Rodriguez opts out, the Yankees would lose that subsidy.

New York also could select a manager soon, but Hank Steinbrenner said not to expect an announcement over the weekend. The Yankees interviewed bench coach Don Mattingly, broadcaster Joe Girardi and first-base coach Tony Pena and don't expect to talk to anyone else.

``I can tell you at this point, the family and the baseball people are pretty much in agreement,'' said Hank Steinbrenner, adding the club hasn't offered the job to anyone. ``We're close. Still a few details to work out. Do some more thinking on it. That's about it.''

Teams aren't allowed to make major announcements during the World Series, but if New York wanted to do so on an off day, commissioner Bud Selig probably would give his permission.

Mattingly, who has no managerial experience, is considered the favorite to replace Joe Torre. He spent three seasons as New York's hitting coach before he became Torre's bench coach last year. A six-time All-Star, Mattingly is among the most beloved players in Yankees history.

Girardi, a former Yankees player and coach, was voted NL Manager of the Year in 2006 after keeping Florida in contention until late in the season.

Girardi was the first to interview Monday, followed by Mattingly on Tuesday and Pena on Wednesday. Pena won AL Manager of the Year in 2003 after the Kansas City Royals went 83-79, their first winning season since 1994.

The Yankees' baseball operations executives were to come up with a recommendation for the team's top officials, which likely will carry a lot of weight. The search comes with general manager Brian Cashman heading into the final year of his deal, but Hank Steinbrenner said Cashman isn't linked to the success of the manager.

``I think from the start the guy that I was leaning towards and the guy he was leaning towards, it's the same guy,'' he said. ``So his job wouldn't be on the line if I tend to agree with him.''