New York Yankees third baseman and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez told The New York Daily News on May 3 he hasn't thought much about the disputed $6 million bonus the team refuses to pay him for tying Willie Mays for fourth all-time in home runs (660) on Friday.
For now, Alex Rodriguez isn't too concerned about the New York Yankees' refusal to pay him his $6 million bonus for tying Willie Mays on baseball's all-time home runs list.
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The New York Daily News' Roger Rubin interviewed Rodriguez prior to the series finale against the Boston Red Sox on May 3. He said his focus was more on the Red Sox than getting the bonus:
"I haven't given it much thought. My focus is this guy (Red Sox starter Joe) Kelly throws 98 tonight and I'm almost 40 years old. So I'd better be focused.
"I'm just happy to be playing baseball. Honestly, I am in a good place. A year ago I wouldn't be dreaming to be talking to you guys about playing baseball and enjoying the game so much...I've been in a good place for a while now and it's just fun to be playing baseball."
Rodriguez hit his 660th career home run against the Red Sox on Friday. Rubin reported on Sunday that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman "sees no obligation" to pay Rodriguez the $6 million bonus due him for tying Mays with that homer.
Rubin then adds the $6 million bonus stems from the 10-year, $275 million extension Rodriguez signed with the Yankees in 2007.
Tying Mays' record was one of five marketing-related bonuses stipulated in the contract. However, the Yankees no longer see it that way with Rodriguez's latest home-run feat due to his one-year suspension last season for his involvement with Biogenesis, per The New York Daily News.
Cashman explained the Yankees' side in a May 3 interview with ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews:
"We're going to follow the contract as we follow all contracts, so there is no dispute from our perspective.
"[But] how it's been reported and what the contract actually says are two different things. We have the right, but not the obligation, to do something, and that's it.
"It's not,'You do this, you get that.' It's completely different. It's not like all of a sudden, we're choosing not to do something.
"If we choose to pursue something, we'll choose to pursue it. If we choose not to, it's our right not to. In both cases, we're honoring the contract. If we choose not to, it's our right not to. In both cases, we're honoring the contract."
Two years ago, Rubin says Rodriguez would have disputed that vehemently. However, Rodriguez said, "I've learned my lesson. The old (A-Rod) is gone."
During the height of the infamous Biogenesis PED scandal, Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Yankees team physican Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the league and the MLB Players Association, per Rubin.
Not only that, Rodriguez even stormed out of his arbitration hearing when he learned he would be suspended for an entire season, per The New York Daily News.
A-Rod dropped the lawsuits against MLB and MLBPA in Feb. 2014 and then the Ahmad lawsuit four months later. Since then he has considered the word "lawyer" taboo, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
Rodriguez told Rubin he changed his outlook drastically during his year-long hiatus.
Under Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement, Rodriguez has 14 days from the time the Yankees were supposed to pay him the $6 million bonus to file a grievance against the Yankees, per Matthews.
The ESPN New York update says the likely arbitrator of the case would be Frederic Horowitz, who shot down Rodriguez's appeal to his 162-game ban in Jan. 2014.
The 39-year-old Rodriguez has amassed 2,957 hits, 660 home runs and 1,983 RBIs on a .299 batting average in 2,590 career regular-season games for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, per ESPN stats.
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