In 2004, Yankee third baseman Aaron Boone suffered a knee injury that drove a hole into Steinbrenner's roster. No stranger to the talent his empire could buy, Steinbrenner lobbied for the most expensive player ever (and the previous year's American League MVP), Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez. In 2000, Rodriguez had made history by signing a $252 million contract with the Rangers that made him the highest-paid baseball player of all time. In 2004, A-Rod entered the House That Ruth Built as part of a trade to fill the Yanks' open third-base slot.
The transaction was so big (including the Rangers' continuing to pay him through 2025) that commissioner Bud Selig made clear it set no precedent. "I want to make it abundantly clear to all clubs that I will not allow cash transfers of this magnitude to become the norm. However, given the unique circumstances, including the size, length and complexity of Mr. Rodriguez's contract and the quality of the talent moving in both directions, I have decided to approve the transaction," Selig told ESPN. As a Yankee, A-Rod would make history again in 2007, breaking his own record as the most expensive player in baseball with a $275 million, 10-year agreement with the team.