New York, NY (Sports Network) - The trade that sends All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees was finalized on Monday when baseball commissioner Bud Selig gave his approval to the mammoth deal.
In exchange for Rodriguez, the Rangers get second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later, reportedly minor league pitcher Sean Henn.
The teams worked out the agreement over the weekend with the players' association giving its stamp of approval on Sunday. Selig followed suit a day later, but still expressed concerns over the financial impact of the trade.
Rodriguez has $179 million and seven years left on his 10-year, $252 million contract. The Rangers are reportedly going to funnel $67 million to the Yankees for the reigning American League MVP.
"I am very concerned about the large amount of cash consideration involved in the transaction, and the length of time over which the cash is being paid," Selig said in a statement. "I want to make it abundantly clear to all clubs that I will not allow cash transfers of this magnitude to become the norm. However, given the unique circumstances, including the size, length and complexity of Mr. Rodriguez' contract and the quality of the talent moving in both directions, I have decided to approve the transaction."
Apparently, Rodriguez is willing to make the switch over to third base, allowing fellow All-Star and friend Derek Jeter to remain at his natural position of shortstop. The Yankees have a huge void at third base because of a knee injury suffered by Aaron Boone this offseason. Boone tore ligaments in his knee while playing basketball.
Rodriguez was almost traded to the Red Sox earlier this offseason. However, the players' association rejected a proposed deal where Rodriguez would restructure his contract. Both sides had settled on the players involved in the proposed trade, but the players' union provided the final roadblock.
Rodriguez said he would only go to Boston with the union's approval.
Last season, Rodriguez topped the American League in home runs with 47, runs scored with 124 and also had a .600 slugging percentage. He was second in the AL with 118 RBI and finished with a .298 batting average, his lowest since 1999.
In the last 72 seasons (beginning 1932), only three players have topped the American League in home runs for three straight years. Rodriguez is one of them, joining Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew (1962-64) and Seattle's Ken Griffey, Jr. (1997-99). Rodriguez is also one of only three players in big league history with 40-plus home runs in at least six straight seasons. Babe Ruth and Sammy Sosa are the two others.
Rodriguez has been on a last-place team the previous three seasons since signing with Texas in 2001. The Yankees, meanwhile, have captured eight straight division titles.
Incredibly, at just 28 years of age, Rodriguez has hit 344 of his 345 career home runs as a shortstop, one shy of the all-time record held by Baltimore's Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken played in 2,303 games and had 8,934 at-bats as a shortstop. Rodriguez has appeared in 1,266 games at the position with 4,968 at-bats.
A two-time Gold Glove winner and seven-time All-Star, Rodriguez officially has a no-trade clause in his contract. In his 10-year major league career, Rodriguez is a .308 hitter with 345 homers and 990 RBI.
The 26-year-old Soriano, a two-time All-Star, spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Yankees. Last year he hit .290 with 38 homers and 91 RBI, but his production lacked in the playoffs. During the postseason, Soriano hit just .225 and struck out 26 times. There is a possibility Soriano will play the outfield for the Rangers.