From Mike Lupica -
Understand: If the Yankees allow him to break the Bank of Steinbrenner as a way of keeping him away from free agency, they are not just saying that he stays on as their third baseman and cleanup man and top run producer. It is so much more than that, both realistically and symbolically.
Pay A-Rod this way and they are officially making him the centerpiece of their franchise and the face of their franchise for the next decade.
It won’t be Derek Jeter, won’t be the new manager and won’t be Joba Chamberlain. It will be A-Rod, who puts up huge numbers except at the time of year when the greatness of the New York Yankees has been grandly defined. Bucky Dent has a more impressive October résumé with one swing.
People say A-Rod’s not the only one who let the Yankees down. He’s not. But he’s the guy routinely called the best player in the game, the one who’s supposed to break the all-time home run record someday, the one who is obsessed, along with Boras, with breaking contract records.
The bar is supposed to be set higher for him.
And yet his numbers are so low in the last three postseasons and when the Yankees began to fall apart against the Red Sox in 2004 that you need to scrape them off the bottom of shoes. The first six guys in the Red Sox batting order all did more for their team against the Indians than A-Rod has done for the Yankees lately.
The one thing that Mike does raise here, that is interesting to me, is the notion of Alex, if he stays, becoming “the face of their franchise for the next decade.”
As Yankees fans, are you cool with that? I’m not sure that I can say, now, that it’s an idea that thrills me.