Alex Rodriguez notified the Yankees Sunday that he's opting out of his record $252 million contract, SI.com has learned.

Rodriguez's decision means he will become a free agent and be able to negotiate with all clubs. Rodriguez's bombshell move will shake up the entire winter for the Yankees -- who had hoped to retain him with a big extension -- as well as other big-market clubs that will now pursue him.

Rodriguez's agent Scott Boras said he sent word of the opt-out in writing Sunday and left phone and text messages for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees have said that once A-Rod opts out, they wil not pursue him, since they will lose the benefit of the Texas Rangers' $30-million subsidy.

"Alex made the decision today,'' Boras said. "I thought we should notify the club.''

The Yankees were preparing an extension to his current contract for either five or six years, believed to be for close to $30 million annually. However, team officials said Boras has politely declined to meet with them in recent days, and they never presented the offer.

Rodriguez technically had until 10 days after the World Series ended to exercise his opt-out rights, which were provided in his $252 million Texas deal. However, Boras said Rodriguez felt there was no way he could make a decision to stay in that short a period of time since several situations remain unsettled, including those of Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte.

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