diamond notes 

Time to catch up on some baseball stuff, the non-Mitchell report, things:

As we talked about earlier Alex Rodriguez signed his record 10 year $275 million contract with the Yankees on Thursday. A few interesting comments came from Alex during the conference call to announce the deal.

On opting out of his original 10 year $252 million dollar deal:

“Opting out was ‘a mistake that was handled extremely poorly. It was a huge debacle,’ he said, calling the timing 1distasteful and very inappropriate.'”

He said that he and his agent Scott Boras agreed he would opt out and Rodriguez thought it would be announced after the World Series. He said Boras also gave him the impression that the Yankees didn’t want him back.

“Our goals were not aligned,” Rodriguez said. “It felt funny to me.”

Nice guy that Boras.

The Tribune Company has asked the state of Illinois to consider buying Wrigley Field through the Illinois Sports Facility Authority. The sports body was created in 1987 for the purpose of building a new Comiskey Park, now U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox play.

James Thompson the Authority’s chairman says:

That the cash strapped state government “does not have any intention of using tax dollars to acquire Wrigley Field, and would not consider the transaction if it involved any state taxpayer dollars going to the Tribune Company.”

Tribune Co., which intends to sell the Chicago-based Comcast sports channel as well as the Cubs and Wrigley in the first half of 2008, declined to comment on the talks.

The Cubs declined to offer P Mark Prior a contract. The former #2 overall pick in the 2001 draft is now a free agent.

The Cubs made the big splash the other day when they signed Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to a 4 year $48 million deal. Fukudome, pronounced Kos-kay Foo-Koo-Dome-ay, is expected to give the Cubbies some left handed thump in their lineup and shore up right field.

The Texas Rangers signed Japanese reliever Kazuo Fukumori, pronounced Kaz-ooh-o Foo-Koo-More-ay, the terms of deal have yet to be revealed. Fukumori is expected to be the set up man or closer for the Rangers.

Fukudome and Fukumori. I for one can not wait to hear Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan botch those names. You realize the potential is there for them to get canned over it right?

Former Red Sox minor leaguer David Eckstein signed a one year $4.5 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with St. Louis Eckstein hit a career hit .301 with 3 HR’s, 31 RBI and 10 stolen bases. He is expected to hit lead off and play shortstop.

Eckstein was the 2006 World Series MVP as the Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in 5 games. He was also a member of the Anaheim Angels 2002 World Series team.

Speaking of former Red Sox, OF Cliff Floyd signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays it’s a one year deal for $3 million plus incentives and an option for 2009.

Throw the Arizona Diamondbacks hat into the ring when talking about teams who are making a pitch for Oakland right hander Dan Haren.  Other teams mention in regard to Haren are the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Mariners and others. 

The San Francisco Giants signed free agent CF Aaron Rowand to a 5 year $70 million deal this week. Rowand has played the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies after they acquired him in the Jim Thome trade with the White Sox. Rowand won a World Series with the ChiSox in 2005.

Right now things appear quiet on the Red Sox front. The team is still waiting on the Twins and that appears as if it’s holding other deals up. But at this time GM Theo Epstein doesn’t seem to mind and appears to be willing to wait a while. Ian has the latest on the Sox minor league signings. 

The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly trying to move 2B Brian Roberts (rumored to be going to the Cubs) and P Erik Bedard in separate deals.  After the trade of SS Miguel Tejada to Houston this week for five players that would effectively break up the club that finished 69-93 27 games behind Boston in the AL East.  It’s been 10 seasons and 5 managers since the last time the franchise had a winning record when they went 98-64 in 1997 under Davey Johnson who was the AL Manager of the year as they won the AL East.  They were the AL Wild Card team in 1996 in Johnson’s first year at the helm.  Johnson was fired/resigned after the ’97 season and the O’s haven’t been the same since.