Months after opting out of a mammoth 10-year deal, Alex Rodriguez breaks his own record by signing the richest contract in Major League Baseball history.
Rodriguez and the New York Yankees finalize a record-breaking 10-year, $275-million contract that will keep the slugger in pinstripes through the 2017 season.
The three-time MVP elected free agency and created controversy when he opted out of his 10-year, $252-million deal on the last day of the 2007 World Series. Rodriguez signed his first record-breaking contract with the Texas Rangers in 2000, but only played three years with the club before an eventual trade to the Yankees following the 2003 season.
Showing up the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies by announcing his opt-out decision was only the beginning of the controversy that would soon mire Rodriguez in the years to follow. Rodriguez said agent Scott Boras gave him the impression New York didn't want him back, and Yankees vice president Hank Steinbrenner didn't plan to negotiate with the embattled superstar. But the two sides put their differences aside to work out the contract, which included performance bonuses and a no-trade clause.
"I made mistakes," Rodriguez said. "I've got to look in the mirror. If I had to do it again, I would've called Hank from Day 1 and negotiated myself.
"If he hung up on me, I wouldn't have been surprised. I thought my career was over with the Yankees."
Rodriguez's mistakes continued to pile up.
A Sports Illustrated report in 2009 alleged Rodriguez took performance-enhancing drugs with the Rangers, which he vehemently denied. But the 1993 No. 1 overall pick soon redacted his claim and admitted to PED use from 2001-03 - a time period in which he captured his first MVP award and hit a combined .305/.395/.615 with 156 homers.
Allegations over steroid use persisted, plaguing his career further.
Rodriguez received a 211-game suspension in 2013 - the longest ban in baseball history - for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, a now-defunct alleged PED distribution ring. The suspension was later reduced to 162 games, forcing the Yankees third baseman to miss the entire 2014 season.
Despite his public image being tarnished, Rodriguez is one of the most accomplished players in the sport's history. He enters the 2015 season as a career .299/.384/.558 hitter, ranks sixth all-time with 1969 RBIs and is one of only eight players - and the only active one - to amass 600-plus homers.
|All-time HR leaders||Total|
|Ken Griffey Jr.||630|
Rodriguez has three years and $61 million remaining on his contract and can earn additional salary by moving up the all-time home run leaderboard.
1923 - Larry Doby
1942 - Fergie Jenkins
1982 - Ricky Nolasco