Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, the New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that Rodriguez and the Yankees have been discussing a surprising deal that would keep the likely American League Most Valuable Player in pinstripes after all.
But the Yankees, who were rebuffed when they asked repeatedly to meet with Rodriguez after the season, have one request of their own. According to the report originally published on the newspaper's Web site, the Yankees have no plans to negotiate with Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras.
"We will not negotiate with Scott Boras," a club source told the Daily News. "He cannot be in the room."
Rodriguez, 32, is the clear-cut favorite to be announced as the AL MVP when the award is announced on Monday. It would be Rodriguez's third time bringing home the honors in his career and the second in four seasons as a member of the Yankees.
Rodriguez led the Major Leagues in home runs (54), RBIs (156) and runs scored (143) in 2007, batting .314 with 24 stolen bases while helping the Yankees dig out of an early hole and attain the AL Wild Card before falling to the Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series.
He also clubbed his 500th home run on Aug. 4 against the Kansas City Royals, becoming the youngest player in history to reach that mark.
According to the report, Rodriguez apparently approached the Yankees through a third-party intermediary and plans to have person-to-person talks with Hank and Hal Steinbrenner before a deal would be settled.
The Yankees are apparently unconcerned that Rodriguez's overture could be a ploy to generate interest in the All-Star. While most clubs would love to add a player of Rodriguez's magnitude, teams with the financial wherewithal to realistically do it this offseason could be scarce.
"We realize it could be a trap to get us back in the negotiations," one Yankees official told the Daily News. "But we don't think that's the case."
The Yankees have also made contact with the representatives for free-agent third baseman Mike Lowell, according to published reports.
Lowell, this year's World Series MVP, has received a three-year offer to remain with the Red Sox, a proposal that his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, have yet to accept. The 33-year-old Lowell hit .321 with 21 home runs and 120 RBIs for Boston this year.
Lowell was originally a product of the Yankees' farm system, but his right-handed swing may translate better to Fenway Park than Yankee Stadium; Lowell has just three home runs and 10 extra-base hits overall in 90 career at-bats in the Bronx.
Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankees' senior vice president, has also said that the club will investigate opportunities to trade for 24-year-old Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, ostensibly to replace Rodriguez's production.
Steinbrenner said the Yankees will not part with pitching prospects Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy to acquire Cabrera, who hit .320 with 34 home runs and 119 RBIs for Florida this past season.
The Yankees are also waiting for closer Mariano Rivera to decide if he will accept a three-year, $45 million contract offer to remain in pinstripes. Catcher Jorge Posada, who agreed to a four-year, $52.4 million pact, will undergo a physical on Wednesday, and an official announcement could soon follow.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.