The $6-million battle between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees is over. A-Rod will not be getting any milestone money from the Yankees, but a few charities will.
Major League Baseball and the MLB players association announced yesterday that A-Rod and the Yankees have "amicably resolved" the disputed $6-million payment due to Rodriguez after hitting his 660th home run to tie Willie Mays.
According to the announcement, the team will donate $3.5 million among four charities. The disputed payment was part of a marketing agreement between the Yankees and Rodriguez made in 2007. It was to have awarded $6 million to Rodriguez each time he tied a player ahead of him on the all-time home run list.
But the Yankees had told Rodriguez before this season they would not make the payment because of his 2014 suspension for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs
Rodriguez hit the tying homer May 1 at Fenway Park. He owns fourth place on the all-time list with 669 entering Friday night's game against the Rays.
The agreement headed off a potential grievance between Rodriguez and the Yankees. The sides, with the addition of MLB and the players association, recently agreed to waive the deadline for filing such an action.
Earlier in the day, the Yankees announced an agreement with Zack Hample, the fan who caught A-Rod's 3,000th-hit home-run ball, to donate $150,000 to Pitch In for Baseball, which distributes baseball and softball equipment to communities across the world.
"I'm very happy," Rodriguez said of the donations. "Never did I think 12 months ago did I think I would be in a position with 660 and 3,000 with two swings of the bat to be able to influence so many people, kids, that are in need. To do this with the Yankees, the union, the commissioner's office, I'm just very proud of us doing the right thing in this situation."
In addition to saving $2.5 million -- the difference between the $6 million originally called for and the charitable payments the team agreed to make -- the Yankees will save $3 million in luxury tax, because Rodriguez will not be receiving the money personally. The Yankees pay at a 50-percent rate on the portion of its payroll above the $189-million threshold.
Under terms of the marketing settlement with the Yankees, $1 million will be split among the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, and Pitch In for Baseball, and $2.5 million to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation. The larger amount going to the youth foundation will be earmarked "to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas," the statement said.
Commissioner Rob Manfred, whom sources said played a significant role in shaping the agreement, "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," the statement said.