In recent months, many experts have hypothesized that the New York Yankees might release their fallen-from-grace ex-superstar Alex Rodriguez and just eat the rest of the money they owe him. But the Yankees, for their part, have expressed their support for A-Rod, even if he hasn’t played much and hasn’t been good when he does.
Well, things have changed in Yankee-land in the last week. With the trades of Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Ivan Nova, the Yankees firmly started the process of rebuilding for the future. (And they did it quite well).
You can bet that if a team out there would have taken A-Rod, the Yankees would have traded him too. Instead, now he’s just the old man getting paid way too much to not help a team that’s not going anywhere. A-Rod hasn’t been getting consistent at-bats and Yankees manager Joe Girardi says that’s not changing in the foreseeable future. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the “Yankees will release A-Rod” reports started to resurface Tuesday.
A-Rod, speaking to the media later Tuesday afternoon, seemed to acknowledge as much. He seems to have no misconceptions about his place in the Yankees lineup, their organization or even baseball as a whole. He sounded, as morbid as it is, like a man on his death bed, accepting the inevitable end.
Here are some snippets of what A-Rod said Tuesday from Sports Illustrated’s Kenny Ducey and Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond:
A-Rod says he knows the organization has a brighter future because of recent trades, can accept not being in plans. pic.twitter.com/MD597YMw9M
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) August 2, 2016
Alex Rodriguez called himself a “teacher at heart.” Oh, he also doesn't want to be cut but is at peace with it if it happens.
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) August 2, 2016
This is point at which we feel compelled to offer a footnote. One of the reasons A-Rod is likely “at peace” with getting released is that, if he does, he’s still getting the $20 million the Yankees owe him next year and whatever’s left of this season’s $20 million. So hanging out with his kids and spending his days at A-Rod Corp while cashing those checks, isn’t the worst Plan B in the world.
A-Rod, however, also wants to coach these young Yankees that will be coming up to the big leagues in the next few seasons. Per the New York Daily News:
“I’m a teacher at heart. I love to be around young kids. I don’t think everyone understands the value of playing winning baseball, and playing Yankee baseball. I know ’04, when I first came here, it was a very, very difficult adjustment, coming from Texas,” said Rodriguez. “If you think about taking a kid from Scranton, it is a huge leap. Whether it’s me or another veteran player, it is important to have veteran presence, to tap a guy on the shoulder the next day after he made a mistake and say, ‘Hey, what were you thinking about that play five minutes before? Five minutes after?’ I think those things are important. Again, it doesn’t have to be me. But it has to be someone.”
Say what you will about A-Rod, but his career arc — from the game’s No. 1 superstar to the game’s No. 1 villain now to a $20 million-per-year wannabe teacher — has been utterly fascinating.
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