This could get ugly.
Henry: Nomar contract negotiations strained
By Bob Hohler, Globe Staff, 12/9/2003
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Red Sox owner John Henry said today that negotiations for a contract extension with shortstop Nomar Garciaparra are strained.
Calling it the "height of hypocrisy," Henry criticized Garciaparra's agent Arn Tellem for his recent comments about the team's trade talks involving Alex Rodriguez.
Tellem told the Globe earlier this week that the Red Sox' pursuit of Rodriguez was a "slap in the face" to his client and that Garciaparra's goal "has always been to return to the Red Sox and play out his entire career in Boston."
"He says we are being disingenuous,'' Henry said from the Dominican Republic where the Red Sox are opening a new facility. "I take great umbrage in that. It is the height of hypocrisy to make statements like that. I hope he is being more honest with his client than he is with media."
Garciaparra, who is in the final year of his contract and will make $11.5 million in 2004, has been negotiating with the Red Sox for an extension. Henry said the Red Sox made substantial offers to Garciaparra in the spring and again after the playoffs but those offers were rejected by Tellem.
According to one team source, the Red Sox offered $60 million over four years in spring training. In November, as the baseball market began to show effects of the new collective bargaining agreement with less money being offered to top players, the Red Sox changed their offer to between $12 and $13 million per year for four years. When Tellem objected to the market contraction, according to another team source, the Red Sox began looking into a trade for Rodriguez, which had been initiated by an earlier inquiry from the Rangers. The Sox and Rangers have been looking at a trade of Manny Ramirez to Texas for Rodriguez. If that move were made, the Sox likely would then look to trade Garciaparra.
"We have made incredible offers and the reason we are proceeding as if we're not going to be able to sign Nomar is because his agent has given us every indication that there is no common ground,'' Henry said. "He seems to believe it is the winter of 2000."
In December of 2000, for example, Rodriguez signed a $252 million deal for 10 years with Texas, and the Red Sox signed Manny Ramirez for $160 million for eight years. This year, Seattle offered Oakland A's free agent shortstop Miguel Tejada, the AL MVP in 2002, a deal worth approximately $8 million per year.
Henry said Tellem's comments could damage the negotiations. "When someone says that your are being disingenuous and you should be honest with the player -- and he said that publicly -- he (should) not dare say it publicly because he knows it's hooey,'' Henry said.
On Monday, Garciaparra told WEEI "to hear from your employers, you know, that they're even thinking about doing this after all the stuff that you've done ... it leaves you scratching your head and has people wondering."
I'm back. Sorta.
Do not boo Johnny.