The Yankees are preparing a contract offer to superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez that would commit A-Rod to the Yankees for eight or nine years, top his $252-million Rangers deal on a per-year basis and possibly even in total dollars. Plus, their expected offer would practically ensure that if A-Rod breaks Barry Bonds' alltime home-run record, he'll do it in a Yankees uniform.

The Yankees are trying to set up a meeting with Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras. It is believed that the extensions the Yankees are weighing would be for five or even six years for something close to $30 million annually, or possibly just a couple million short of that. So the extension offer, which hasn't been finalized yet, could be for about $140 million over five years or $170 million over six years. If the Yankees decide to propose a six-year deal, that would keep Rodriguez in pinstripes until he's 41 since he already has three years and $91 million remaining on his original Rangers contract. With the $91 million that's already coming to him, the Yankees could be committing about $260 million to A-Rod if they go the six-year route.

The Yankees are still officially undecided on whether Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly or Tony Pena will be their next manager and have many other issues as well, but they are also working aggressively to try to lock up both Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. As SI.com reported previously, the Yankees are expected to offer Posada and Rivera bookend deals of $40 million each, and while they're confident they'll eventually keep both, Rivera is expected to shop around and take longer to re-sign than Posada.

A-Rod is the toughest one, though. Yankees people believe their offer will be best for Rodriguez. But there's no way of knowing. Last time, it was a stunner when Texas came out of nowhere to bid $252 million over 10 years. The Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Mets and Red sox are potential suitors for A-Rod .

If the Yankees sign A-Rod to an extension before he opts out, they will have the benefit of a $30-million subsidy from Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who signed the originally $252-million deal but agreed to pay about one-third of A-Rod's salary when he traded him to the Yankees.

Once A-Rod opts out, Hicks would be off the hook. The Yankees have said that if Rodriguez opts out -- and he has up until 10 days after the World Series to do so -- they will cut off negotiations with him and let him go. Meanwhile, Boras foresees the Yankees changing their minds and remaining in the derby even if A-Rod opts out.

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