Alex Rodriguez is one of the bidders on the shortlist to purchase the Mets, but he may have already lost his potential locker room.
Preparing for his third season as an analyst for ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast, the former three-time American League MVP seemingly argued for MLB to adopt a salary cap system.
The sentiment didn’t sit well with his colleagues.
“I hope to god he’s shouted out of every clubhouse he attempts to enter in this and future seasons,” former 13-year pitcher Brandon McCarthy tweeted Thursday. “Call him a self-serving liar and make him explain himself to a room full of his former peers if he wants broadcast content.”
Amidst declining relations between MLB and the players association, Rodriguez claimed that the players no longer hold the leverage they enjoyed during the 1994-95 strike when they successfully fought off salary cap proposals from owners.
Baseball has lost its standing to other sports like the NBA and NFL and to rising media conglomerates, Rodriguez argued.
“The only way it’s going to happen is if they get to the table and say the No. 1 goal, let’s get from $10 to $15 billion and then we’ll split the economics evenly,” Rodriguez told reporters Thursday. “But that’s the type of conversation instead of fighting and fighting against each other because there is too much competition out there right now.”
A salary cap-less system allowed Rodriguez to earn roughly $448 million throughout his career. Union head Tony Clark called out the hypocrisy in a statement Thursday.
“Alex benefited as much as anybody from the battles this union fought against owners’ repeated attempts to get a salary cap,” Clark said. “Now that he is attempting to become an owner himself his perspective appears to be different. And that perspective does not reflect the best interest of the players.”
Rodriguez is no stranger to damage control and PR battles surrounding his persona after he was infamously suspended for the entire 2014 season for using performance enhancing drugs and repeatedly lying. His public image has rebounded, however, becoming the face of ESPN’s lead broadcast team and his engagement to Jennifer Lopez.
As he attempts to complete his transformation from player to owner, Rodriguez is once again walking back his own statements.
“(Thursday), when I was asked about the CBA expiring in 2021, I answered honestly, but never mentioned the word salary cap,” Rodriguez said in a statement posted on Twitter. “My goal as a broadcaster and more importantly a fan of the sport is to grow our game. I suggested on the call that both sides – players and owners – work together to make baseball as big as the NFL and the NBA.
“I’ve been in contact with Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, to make sure we’re aligned in taking our sport to the next level and showcasing the world’s best athletes.”
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Rodriguez and Lopez face an uphill climb in beating out billionaire Steve Cohen to secure the Mets. McCarthy, whose one season in The Bronx came during A-Rod’s suspension, is already an owner, however. He currently owns Phoenix Rising FC, an American professional soccer team playing in the USL Championship.
“I own a sports team,” McCarthy posted on Twitter. “You do not have to be anti-player to be an owner. You can accept that you won’t take advantage of them and won’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Be fair and don’t be a liar.”