Thursday, January 31, 2013
At the end of the day, A-Rod gets his say
By Andrew Marchand
A-Rod will be a tough out for the Yanks, who plan on exploring ways to void the star's contract.
Alex Rodriguez does get to say if he retires, you know. He may be hated by his own organization and its team's fans, but he has that little piece of paper that guarantees he has a say in the matter of calling it a career.
That piece of paper the Yankees gave him in 2007 guarantees him at least five years and $114 million. Plus, if he wants to stick around, there are home run bonuses that add up to $6 million a pop and a total of what could be an extra $30 million. He needs just 13 more homers to tie Willie Mays' 660 number for his first $6 million pop. (The 115 home runs needed to catch Barry Bonds seems less likely.)
The Yankees are clearly trying to gain some leverage with A-Rod. From our original story on Tuesday and other outlets, it feels like a campaign to make it uncomfortable for Rodriguez to put on pinstripes again.
A-Rod, though, doesn't have to cede all the power to the Yankees. Just as easily as they can talk about voiding his contract, he can announce that he has every intention of continuing his career in the Bronx.
He can make the Yankees cut him with his $114 million, which all counts toward the luxury tax, and then see if another team might want a guy whose OPS of .783 was the ninth best among third baseman in 2012 and the third best among AL third baseman.
There is a long way between now and the Yankees getting their wish of seeing A-Rod gone forever. With A-Rod's denial about the claims that he bought PEDs in the Miami New Times story, it is unclear if MLB will have enough evidence to suspend him. With sources who have seen A-Rod's contract informing ESPNNewYork.com that there is no special steroid section in the moral clauses of the deal, it will be very hard, maybe impossible, for the Yankees to sever ties, on their terms, unless they just cut him.
The Yankees know how to play this game. They are a billion-dollar business for a reason. That doesn't mean always playing nice and friendly. They have put the pressure on A-Rod, but he has some cards to play, too.
He already has said that he doesn't know Anthony Bosch. Now, he just needs to say 10 words, "I want to play for the New York Yankees in 2013." He has a guaranteed contract.
In other words, A-Rod's future isn't close to being decided by a long shot.