Major League Baseball just announced that A-Rod and the Yankees have resolved the dispute over Alex Rodriguez’s $6 million bonus for passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. Short version: only $3.5 million of it is being paid out, and all of that to charity. Here’s the statement:
Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the Club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas. Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Mr. Rodriguez, and taking into consideration the focus of Mr. Rodriguez’s past charitable contributions.
Neither party will have any further comment on the specific terms of the agreement and both look forward to focusing their energies on winning another championship for Yankees fans.
One could criticize the union and/or A-Rod for caving here — and many will — but the fact remains, we still do not know the language of the marketing agreement between Rodriguez and the Yankees and whether or not a challenge to the Yankees’ withholding the money would have any traction. After all, this was not guaranteed money under a player contract and some reports stated that the Yankees had the advantage with respect to the operative language.
Ultimately, A-Rod and the union chose to agree two having $3.5 million go to charities rather than take a chance that they could get $6 million while risking losing it all. Given the risk and the fact that, to get that money, everyone would have to go back into a courtroom someplace and argue about things everyone got pretty sick and tired of arguing about last year, it’s a defensible position to take.