Yankees president Randy Levine appeared on "The Michael Kay Show" on Friday to talk A-Rod, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees' dismal performance in the ALCS.
Kay asked Levine if A-Rod would be the Yankees' starting third baseman on Opening Day next spring.
"I do," he said.
Rumors have been swirling about Rodriguez's departure from the Bronx after he was benched in the ALCS.
"I think that it's not a toxic situation whatsoever," Levine said. "I think that Alex is a great player and a great team guy and has a lot of pride. But I think deep in his heart he knew that Joe made the right decision. I think Joe handled it the right way. He talked to him, he spoke to him. He just wasn't hitting right-handed pitching. The relationship is fine. I think Alex wants to be here. Right now I don't anticipate anything different. I think he's going to be a Yankee. When you look at his year, he was an above average third baseman and he's going to continue to be an above-average third baseman."
Here are some other highlights from the interview:
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Our pitching was really really good. I think that our hitting just went away. I think that it was incredible to be -- I've been searching for answers why all of these professional hitters just didn't hit. For the most part, except for a few guys, it was most of our team. I've heard a lot of people, a lot of explanations. Nobody really has an answer to how a bunch of great professional hitters -- older hitters, younger hitters, in the middle hitters, a erase hitters, home run hitters -- all went cold at one time. And the only explanation is, that's baseball.
ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF BASEBALL THAT HAD TO DO WITH THE BENCHING OF A-ROD?
No. I can assure you there was nothing.
IS JOE GIRARDI'S JOB SAFE?
I think Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman, they did a great job. They got us in the American League Championship series and they did everything we could to get there. They did a great job, as I said. To me, this whole series came down to great hitters, for one week, not hitting.
WILL ANDY PETTITTE RETURN?
My gut tells me that he's such a great competitor that he's going to want to come back. He basically said he's going to think about it but my gut is he's going to want to come back .
CASH SAYS A-ROD WASN'T A SCAPEGOAT: Brian Cashman said Rodriguez shouldn't be viewed as a scapegoat during an interview with Chris Russo on Mad Dog Radio.
“Not at all," he said.
"Alex Rodriguez did not hit right-handers very well all season. He has just over a .600 OPS against right-handed pitching the entire year and that got worse as we went into September and even worse in October. So we had a legitimate alternative. You could argue Chavez had just as good a season, maybe even better than Alex because Alex missed as much time as he did with the injury, the fractured wrist. So we had an alternative from the left side, sitting there at third base, that was very productive against right-handed pitching. So in Alex’s particular case we had a legitimate alternative.
"The other guys got a little more rope and then we went to the legitimate alternative with Brett Gardner eventually where Swisher sat and Granderson sat, too. In Robby Cano’s case there wasn’t any real legitimate alternative to consider, not that we would consider that because he’s such a great hitter, but at the end of the day if you look at the large sample size of the entire year and you take the big name out of it and, really, who deserves to play in these matchups, the numbers bear it out. Alex should play against lefties and Chavez against righties based on the year he had.”