A-Rod is always in the spotlight, and this week the light has shined especially bright on Rodriguez. First, it was reported that Rodriguez sent a ball into the crowd requesting a woman’s phone number during game one’s loss. That came after being pinch hit for in game one, plus a few times during the ALDS. Now, A-Rod’s riding the bench for the second straight game. He’s clearly fallen out of favor with Yankees’ management, and trade rumors floated today regarding a potential landing spot in Miami.
There’s no doubt the Yankees would love to rid themselves of his 5 years and $114 million left, but who in their right mind would take him? He’s 37, and after playing 158 games in 2007, he’s appeared in 138, 124, 137, 99, and 122 each year since. Plus, his wRC+ has taken a steady tumble in those five season: 152, 142, 125, 125, 114. The Yankees would have to absorb a lot of what’s left on his contract to make a potential deal attractive for the Marlins. Another hurdle would be A-Rod’s 10-and-5 rights. Since he’s been with the team for five years and league for ten, he has power to veto any trade. Since Miami is his hometown, however, perhaps a deal would be welcoming.
Keith Olbermann, a political commentator, former ESPN anchor, and Yankees fan, was first to report the trade rumor.
Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman shot down the report. Olbermann, who’s updated his story a few times today, responded to Cashman’s denial:
“Cash – whom I like – is, say, incorrect…I’d also point out that Cashman may not know about any of this – yet. Not two years ago ownership – by his own admission – essentially signed a free agent [Rafael Soriano] without telling him.“
In fact, Olbermann’s speculation that upper management may be undermining Cashman may have been answered by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. In this article, Heyman points out that Yankees’ president Randy Levine discussed A-Rod with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. However, the discussion went down in late April and doesn’t appear to be serious. Here’s how the purported conversation that occurred went down, from Heyman’s report:
“Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria: “Alex is Mr Miami. Maybe he should play for us.”
Yankees preseident Randy Levine: “You can have him.”
The banter was viewed as a joke, and there’s no evidence it has been re-visited since.“
All we can really gather from these two reports is that Olbermann and Heyman have two different sources, because Heyman’s source indicated that it hasn’t been discussed recently. I tend to agree with Heyman’s story, given the fact that he’s a more reputable baseball insider. Plus, I’d be very surprised to hear they’re discussing trades during the playoffs, even being down 3-0.
I like A-Rod, and am very grateful for his remarkable 2009 postseason, but it seems pretty clear that the Yankees would like to be done with him. Frankly, he can’t be relied upon in the middle of the order anymore. What they’ve done to him though in the past couple weeks has been a pretty big slap in the face, and if it wasn’t for his contract, it would be pretty hard to envision him in pinstripes in 2013.
Fans have been brutal to him, and it’s been fair much of the time. When he exploded in that 2009 postseason, I thought he would be in the fans’ good graces permanently. I should have known better, given the expectations for him. He’s certainly deserved scrutiny for his awful performance this October, and only finally now have fans started to let loose on some other poor performers.
I certainly think the Yankees will explore their options via the trade market (as they should), but it would take the right deal for them to absorb, say, $60 million of what’s left. It’s sure to be a very interesting offseason for Cashman.
Photo by Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons