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NEW YORK -- The Yankees are in serious discussions with the Rangers to acquire Alex Rodriguez and move him to third base, where he'd play alongside shortstop Derek Jeter, if you are to believe Newsday.
The 600,000-plus circulation newspaper on suburban Long Island, N.Y., reports in its Saturday editions that A-Rod is desperate to get out of Texas and would be willing to switch positions.
The New York Post, which is usually leading the way when sensational stories pop up, is reporting today only that the Yankees have asked the Rangers about such a trade, in which Alfonso Soriano would leave New York.
A source close to the conversations told ESPN Saturday that talks are in the early stages but that it's a "longshot" the deal will ever be completed because of "many hurdles" that stand in the way.
Soriano, 25, is signed only through 2004, for $5.4 million. He can't be a free agent until after the 2006 season. The 28-year-old Rodriguez is owed $189 million over the next seven years, although he can opt out after 2007. Thus, the Yankees would take on an extra $183.6 million guaranteed if the deal is consummated.
However, according to Newsday's source, the Rangers would be willing to foot some of that bill. The American League source also told Newsday that the two clubs talked late into Friday night about the trade.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted to the Post on Friday that he has approached the Rangers about a deal, but was initially turned down.
"There are many times I float weather balloons to my counterparts," Cashman told the Post. "I won't comment on trade rumors, but it should come as no surprise that I am constantly floating weather balloons to my counterparts. Ninety-nine [percent] of them get popped and fall to the ground."
The Post also reported that the Yankees would likely have to give up Jose Contreras as well as minor-league catcher Dioner Navarro in such a trade.
The Red Sox and Rangers talked extensively this winter about a deal involving A-Rod, but could not get it done, thanks to A-Rod's contract. The two teams did agree to a trade in December, but the union refused to approve it, declaring that A-Rod was setting an unacceptable precedent by diminishing his contract's value.
Rangers owner Tom Hicks then announced that Rodriguez would stay with the Rangers, and last month the team named A-Rod its captain.
The Yankees recently lost third baseman Aaron Boone to what likely is a season-ending knee injury. The trade would create a void at second base for the Yankees. Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo would have to share the duties.
Rodriguez, who has 345 career homers, is coming off an MVP season in which he hit .298 with 47 homers and 118 RBI.
Way way WAYYYY too much to give up for A-Rod. Taking A-Rod's salary from TX is doing them enough of a favor. No need to give a star 2B, potential star pitcher, and a minor league kid for him. I would tell them Contreras for Arod even up and make them eat some of A-Rod's salary as well. If they don't like it, tell them to enjoy mediocrity for the next few years.