When Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman acquired Alex Rodriguez in 2004, Yankees fans dreamed of the day when A-Rod would break the all-time home run record. Now, whenever Yankees fans hear the name Alex Rodriguez, they can’t help but associate his name with terms like pathological liar, villain and burden. Recently, Bleacher Report sent an update that read, “Yankees were reportedly ‘Fuming’ that Alex Rodriguez didn’t ‘Alert them to his plans’ to arrive early to spring training.” This must be the only time in the history of sports when a team was angry with a player for preparing for the rigorous regular season. Rodriguez’s return after serving a 211-game suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs has sparked some crucial questions: How will the Yankees treat him, and will he still be able to perform at the major league level?
A popular opinion among Yankees fans and baseball analysts is to just cut Rodriguez and agree to a buy out. Even though the Yankees would still owe Rodriguez tens of millions of dollars, they would be ecstatic to erase his name from the roster. Yankee fans would highly appreciate this route, as Rodriguez would be put to ultimate shame.
Some fans share the same view as Ian Hollenberg, a freshman in the SPS sports management program.
“He simply hasn’t played for a while,” Hollenberg said. “If I were the Yankees, I would put him in intermittently as a pinch hitter and see if he can still hit. He would also be on a short leash — if any other negative story about him comes out, I would be prepared to punish him.”
Rodriguez is currently fifth on the all-time home run list with an incredible 654 round-trippers. Willie Mays, one of the game’s greatest players on and off the field has 660. If A-Rod breaks multiple home run records, he receives bonus incentives of up to $30 million. Most baseball fans don’t want Rodriguez to break the record, because they think he cheated throughout his entire career. But if the Yankees release him, some team desperate for a proven bat or publicity, perhaps the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Colorado Rockies, will gladly pick him up and let him try to attempt the feat.
If they can’t figure out a way to void his contract, I think the Yankees should try to make this season as unpleasant as possible for Rodriguez. It certainly feels to me like the reason why the Yankees were “fuming” that he’s putting in so much effort this offseason is because they don’t want him gaining the sympathy of fans.
Sports reporters across the Internet have weighed in as well, such as Bill Simmons, the head of Grantland.
“It would be funny if they just figured out all these subtle, stupid ways to humiliate him so he would quit.” Simmons said on his weekly podcast “The B.S Report.” “Like they give him the worst locker and a uniform that doesn’t fit correctly.”
Sure, the Yankees desperately need production in the lineup, but they just signed third baseman Chase Headley to a sizeable contract. Joe Girardi’s suggestion that Rodriguez might get some playing time at first base is ludicrous. The Yankees can’t expect Rodriguez to learn a new position and be productive at the plate after such a long suspension. Eli Nachmany, an SPS freshman in sports management, feels that Rodriguez should be handled like just another name on the roster.
“He’s an employee of the Yankees and should be treated as such,” Nachmany said. “Rodriguez hasn’t merited himself any preferential treatment, regardless of his contract, and therefore shouldn’t be afforded any.”
Rodriguez has had a busy off-season to say the least. His most recent public relations stunt was to write a handwritten letter titled “To the Fans,” as if to say my lawyer or adviser did not write this. In his first appearance at a spring training practice, Rodriguez apparently hit six home runs on 75 pitches. As much as I disapprove of Rodriguez and his career full of lies, I can’t deny the fact that the Yankees are going to have a hard time scoring runs this season. If Alex Rodriguez helps boost my Yankees into the playoffs, all will be forgiven for a short period of time.
Email Brad Waldstreicher at [email protected]