In The Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 20, 2004 -- Is that all?

For what is supposed to be the best player in baseball, the Texas Rangers will get Alfonso Soriano and a minor league pitcher. That's it?

No, not quite. The Rangers will also pay the Yankees $67 million just to have Alex Rodriguez play in pinstripes. That's like stopping the robber before he gets out the door and telling him he forget to steal the jewels and furs.

Looks like Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who thought he was a big dog three years ago when he signed Rodriguez to a $252 million contract, has tucked his tail on the porch while the real owners eat out of his food dish.

A-Rod for Fonzie. Happy Days in the Bronx, and another losing season in Arlington from a losing owner and losing GM who once again has changed the direction of a losing team.

Oh, I shouldn't be so harsh. The trade does have it's good points. To wit:

It puts more money in the pocket of Tom Hicks, and the state of Texas needs as many billionaires as it can get. Don't be fooled into thinking the Rangers will put any of the money they saved back into the major league roster. That's pocket money for ol' Tom. Cha-ching.

It'll provide a cooler summer at The Ballpark. Soriano strikes out about 500,000 times a year, and all that swinging will generate quite a nice breeze.

It lowers the Rangers' payroll and still gives Hicks an excuse not to resign young players or spend for top-notch pitching. Don't forget the $67 million the Rangers will pay A-Rod over the next 15 years for not playing for them. "Remember the A-Rod" will be recounted over and over again as a reason the payroll is hamstrung.

It further solidifies the Rangers' reputation as quite a nice little farm club. They grow up some young players, then ship them off to the real major league teams like a good Triple-A club should.

The "Captain" title, which manager Buck Showalter inexplicably shoved on Rodriguez, is now freed up. A-Rod had it for all of three weeks, and it meant so much.

The Rangers don't have to worry about all that MVP or Hall of Fame stuff anymore. They have already divested themselves of sure Hall of Famers Pudge Rodriguez, Rafael Palmiero, Alex Rodriguez and even current Hall member Nolan Ryan. Hicks now won't have to pay for airline tickets to the induction ceremonies.

The Yankees are purchasing A-Rod's house in Dallas and his luxury suites at The Ballpark and the American Airlines Center. Like a CIA operative, they are erasing all evidence that Rodriguez ever existed in Dallas.

Like I said, there are some good things about the trade.

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