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The 2001 Mets decided to augment their NL champs by enlisting Rey Ordonez for short rather than A-Rod, plus Kevin Appier and Todd Zeile. The entire Mets infield totaled 51 homers, one less than A-Rod (albeit in a hitter's haven in Texas on steroids). The Mets stumbled to third with Tsuyoshi Shinjo serving 15 times as the cleanup hitter protecting Mike Piazza. They then had big money coming off the books and overreacted with Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, Roger Cedeno and Mo Vaughn, among others.

Would the Mets have reached the playoffs again in 2001 with Rodriguez hitting behind Piazza? Would they have been better off extending financially for one star rather than the collection of players they eventually bought? Would Rodriguez have embraced being Jeter's cross-Triborough rival rather than his uneasy teammate? Would he have found more love and acceptance and, thus, peace of mind playing for the largest contract ever as a Met rather than the monstrosity he signed in Texas? Would he have gotten along with Bobby Valentine (reached in Japan, Valentine essentially said, "Why not?").

"Obviously, it is a crystal-ball discussion," Leiter said. "We had Piazza. We could have created our dynamic duo. I think that would have forced people to talk about the National League New York team as much as the American League New York team. How fun would that have been?"

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 10, 2009

Houston Astros News

News » A-Rod might have actually been happy as a Met

A-Rod might have actually been happy as a Met

A-Rod might have actually been happy as a Met
The baseball world changed during the 2003-04 offseason. The Boston Red Sox did not obtain Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees did.

The players association quashed a deal that would have sent A-Rod from Texas to Boston, refusing to let Rodriguez reduce the value of his contract to facilitate the move. Not long after that, Aaron Boone tore up his knee playing pickup basketball, the Yankees reached out to see if Rodriguez would switch from shortstop to third, and a trade was consummated.

Initially this was viewed as Babe Ruth II, the game's great player slipping from the Red Sox to the Yankees. The Curse seemed like it would never go away. That was two Boston championships ago.

In recent weeks, as the gap between the Red Sox and Yankees has become more pronounced, there have been media attempts to enter the way-back machine and imagine how events might have transpired if Rodriguez had, indeed, ended up in Boston. Would he have become a hero by helping to end the Curse or — like in New York — would his insincerity, insecurity and ego have been a counterweight to his talent, sucking the life out of an entire organization?

But that might not even be the most interesting hypothetical involving Rodriguez. Remember, he was a free agent after the 2000 season and his first preference was to become a Met. Think about how history might have changed had Rodriguez come to New York immediately after the Subway Series to be Derek Jeter's crosstown rival rather than fake-friend teammate.

"We had a lot of discussions about doing it," said Jim Duquette, then a Mets assistant general manager. "We weren't just kicking the tires."

The quick shorthand for what occurred was: Then-GM Steve Phillips met Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, immediately after the November GM meetings. Boras outlined items Rodriguez would need beyond the largest contract in history. That list included an office at Shea Stadium to handle off-the-field issues, charter jet service for friends/family and a guarantee that he would have the largest billboard presence in New York, particularly over Jeter.

Shortly thereafter, Phillips announced the Mets were withdrawing from negotiations, famously saying Boras/A-Rod were hunting an untenable "24-plus-one-man structure." Rodriguez ultimately signed a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers that made him the majors' highest-paid player, but also the game's biggest target. A domino effect was triggered that damaged Rodriguez's reputation.

So what if Rodriguez had followed his heart, not his wallet. He grew up in Miami a huge Mets fan, watching his favorites such as Keith Hernandez and Doc Gooden. Al Leiter said recently that it was near-accepted buzz around the Mets clubhouse during the 2000 season that Rodriguez wanted to come to the Mets. During the 2000 World Series, Rodriguez attended games at Shea Stadium, people close to him say, to scope out his imagined future home.

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