Via Jim Litke -
[Alex] Rodriguez has never been a comfortable fit with the Yankees. He’s a target for the tabloids, even when he’s not in the game, a reminder of which came with a report in the New York Post that he spent some of his time on the bench Saturday night flirting with two fans two rows behind the New York dugout. And at 37, with his skills in decline, he still has five years and $114 million guaranteed to run on his contract, plus the power to veto a trade. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
In the National League, Atlanta could use a name to replace Chipper Jones at third. Rodriguez also would be a fit at third for Miami, where he grew up and owns a home that he’s trying to unload for $38 million. The Dodgers’ new ownership hasn’t been shy about accumulating high-priced talent and current third baseman Luis Cruz isn’t going to help sell tickets.
But A-Rod to the American League seems like a better deal all around. His current contract contains a number of bonuses for career milestones — all home runs — and his best chance to eventually reach those is as a designated hitter.
Based on his performance this season, Rodriguez would be an immediate upgrade at third over the platoon of Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo the Los Angeles Angels deployed this season and he’d be popular with the team’s Latino fan base as long as he remained productive.
Even the Chicago White Sox might be an option, since the club has made a habit of taking on fading stars in recent years, so long as the price is right. Best of all, though, might be the Houston Astros, who have money to throw around as a result of an agreement with Major League Baseball to move to the AL next season, and desperately could use the buzz.
That said, not one of those clubs is likely to consider Rodriguez at the full retail price. But the Yankees have a history of unloading high-priced talent by continuing to pay part of the bill and estimates the team would have to fork over somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of his salary for the next five years aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Not after this postseason.
Recently, Yankees President Randy Levine was asked whether he thought A-Rod would still be wearing pinstripes when his current deal ended in 2017. He told ESPN Radio in New York, “That’s like one of those questions: Where’s the stock market going to be in 2017, who’s going to be president on Nov. 15?
“If I had crystal ball to predict all of that stuff, I’d be a lot smarter than I am,” he added. “I’m not going to go there.”
Not yet, anyway, and not before this season comes to a merciful conclusion. But Rodriguez lost the fans long ago, and from the sound of things Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman might not be too far behind.
The key, in all this, is that A-Rod has to want to leave and then the Yankees can try and find a parking spot for him. But, unless Alex says that he’s willing to accept a trade, he’s not leaving New York.
Maybe this post-season experience is enough to make A-Rod want to leave the Yankees?
And, if Rodriguez says he wants to move, the Yankees would be smart to eat as much salary as it takes to get him out of town.