Alex Rodriguez will be a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by the start of the 2011 season.
OK, maybe not the Angels, and maybe not 2011. But the point is, he won’t be a Yankee for the duration of his 10-year, $275 million contract, not even close.
A-Rod carries too much baggage to the plate in critical, must-hit situations, and the process is wearing out a fan base still hopelessly in love with the Jeter-led team that built a dynasty around pitching, chemistry, clutch hitting and a commitment to treating little things as big things.
They’ll need to persuade Rodriguez to waive his veto power for the good of all concerned, and they’ll need to convince themselves that eating tens upon tens of millions of dollars — and trading away the home-run record to boot — makes sound business sense.
Right now, this much is clear: Rodriguez isn’t making it through 2017, not like this, not if the fans have anything to say about it.
He arrived in the Bronx about eight years too late. So sooner rather than later, A-Rod will get his escape from New York.
Only this time the Yankees will opt out on him.
For what it’s worth, back in August, we did a poll on this and almost half who answered felt that A-Rod does not play out his current contract, to the last year, with the Yankees.
Actually, the best way for the Yankees to handle Alex is to pretend that he’s not on the team…and build a team around him that can win without having to rely on A-Rod to have an “MVP” season to win. Sure, when Alex plays like he did in 2005 and 2007, he can carry a team and his life will be easy in the Bronx. But, unless he’s at that level, there will be a focus on him…if the team is not winning enough to be in first place.
In my perfect world, the Yankees have a team with enough batting talent and pitching power where they can bat A-Rod fifth in the line-up…and the team wins 60% of the time whether Alex goes 5 for 5 or he goes 0-5. If they can do that, then A-Rod’s only job is to keep his mouth shut, stay out of trouble, catch the ball at third, make his throws to first, and hit some homeruns. And, as long as the team is winning, no one should be able to beef with that.
But, if the team is not winning enough games to make the post-season, and A-Rod’s “the man” in the clean-up spot, then he will always be in a position to take some blame – if he’s not having an “MVP” type season. Fair? Maybe not. But, that’s just the way it goes in this town…