To Mets fans, it was a painful reminder of what might have been. But to Jim Duquette, Alex Rodriguez saying on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” that he regretted not coming to the Mets in the 2000-01 offseason is pure fiction.
“It’s just revisionist stuff. Come on. Stop it,” the team’s former general manager said Monday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM.
Rodriguez, a Mets fan growing up who idolized Keith Hernandez, signed a 10-year contract worth $252 million with the Rangers after flirting with the Mets. Infamously, the Mets said his agent, Scott Boras, asked for many over-the-top perks, such as a Shea Stadium office, marketing staff and merchandise tent, which Duquette remembered in precise detail.
“We barely had enough space for the people that worked there, never mind we’re going to have an office for one of our players,” Duquette said.
“It’s about 25 players working as a team,” then-Mets general manager Steve Phillips said then. “The 24-plus-one-man structure really doesn’t work. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Alex Rodriguez. … But I don’t think you can give different rules and separate one player from the rest of the team.”
Duquette said the Mets were willing to pay Rodriguez as much as $125 million, more than $100 million less than he got from Texas.
“I debate whether he and [Mike] Piazza would have gotten along anyway,” said Duquette, the assistant general manager at the time. “That year we went to the World Series. He came and sat behind the plate, did the whole song-and-dance type of circus thing that happens with him. It happened that particular year.
“It wasn’t going to happen,” Duquette added about Rodriguez coming to the Mets. “It’s just not true what he said.”
.@Jim_Duquette has a few problems with @ARod saying he wished he’d signed with the #Mets in 2000, particularly the demands the #Mets refused to meet:
💰 His own office at Shea Stadium
💰 His own merchandise tent
💰 $100+ million MORE than the Mets were offering pic.twitter.com/e2vBrDe4gT
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) April 9, 2018