The New York Yankees baseball team introduced its newest member Tuesday, former Texas Ranger star Alex Rodriquez, the American League's most valuable player.
The message board outside Yankee Stadium says it all: A-Rod, Welcome to New York. "I still feel like some one is going to pinch me and wake me up. The opportunity to be a New York Yankee and to have the opportunity to come to the park every day is something that I relish and am really, really looking forward to," he said.
The Yankees acquired 28-year-old Alex Rodriquez, known to baseball fans as A-Rod, by taking over his eye-popping 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers. The contract is worth $252 million and the Rangers will continue to pay a portion of Rodriquez's salary until the year 2025. The trade will allow the Rangers to use the money they are saving to acquire much-needed pitchers.
Monday, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig okayed the transaction but said he will not allow cash transfers of such magnitude to become the norm in the sport.
It is the first time that a reigning most valuable player has ever been traded.
Rodriquez was raised in Miami, Florida, but he was born in New York where he spent the early years of his childhood. He says the idea of moving back to New York and playing for the Yankees energizes him.
Alex Rodriquez is a seven-time all star shortstop. But Yankee management made it clear that Derek Jeter, a local hero and baseball superstar, will continue at that position and Rodriquez will move to third base. The two men are close personal friends. Rodriquez said the decision to change positions was easy, he wants to win.
The Yankees have won more championships than any team in baseball history. The Rangers finished the last three seasons at the bottom of their league. I have come to a point in my career where winning is the most important thing. Being a New York Yankee and the history and the present and the future, I think it is an opportunity. When you drive to the ball park every day, you really have an opportunity to win and win big, hopefully in October. It was team over personal," said Rodriquez.
Alex Rodriquez will wear the number 13 for the Yankees, not the number three, which he has used since his days in secondary school. Years ago, the Yankees retired the number three in honor of Babe Ruth, the player who was perhaps the greatest legend in all of baseball.