Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The end of A-Rod?

It seems it's drawing near. The NY Yankees pretty much waved the white flag on any championship aspirations this year when, contrary to their usual approach, were big time sellers at the trade deadline. Getting rid of such stars as Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for a bunch of "prospects" was a clear signal they're hopefully building for the future.

There's really no point in keeping Alex Rodriguez around either. Except maybe for the money they owe him. A-Rod will collect $21 million this year and the Yanks are on the hook for another $21M next year -- whether he plays or not. The 2017 season will finally bring to a close the whopping 10 year contract worth over $250 million A-Rod signed way back in 2007. Such are the perils of long term guaranteed deals.

Now 41 years old, Rodriguez appears to have finally hit the wall. He's only played in 62 games this year and is batting a paltry .205 with 9 home runs and 29 RBIs. Plus he can't reasonably field a position anymore. Father Time remains undefeated.

Given all the above, it would be futile for the Yanks to try to trade him. No other team is going to take on such a player, let alone give up any prospects. The Bronx Bombers are stuck with him.

Currently, A-Rod has 696 career home runs, just 4 shy of the 700 club only Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds belong to. He may or may not reach that milestone before this season ends. Given his horrible 2016 campaign to date -- over 100 games worth -- it's pretty tough to justify using him as a DH when he's obviously lost his hitting stroke. Then again, if the team has to fork out big bucks to him anyway and they've already given up on this season -- why not throw him in there? Quite the dilemma.

Steroids, and perhaps lies or not, yours truly was always a fan of A-Rod. Back in the day, he was the whole package, no pun intended. There was much speculation that he could conceivably become the all-time home run hitter. Now that's not going to happen. It's even unlikely he'll catch Ruth at 714, let alone Aaron's 755 or Bonds' 772.

Whether or not he'll someday be inducted into the Hall of Fame is anybody's guess. He certainly has the stats, but the alleged baggage of his steroid era might not sit well with many of the voters. A-Rod could find himself in the same purgatory as Pete Rose. One of the best of all-time but with a cloud hanging over his head for past deeds -- real or perceived.

But let's not forget that Rodriguez has amassed his 696 home runs having been grounded for an entire year. Not long ago, when he and the league were slugging it out over what sort of penalty he should have to serve for his alleged PED use, he was forced to miss an entire season. That was when he was starting clipping along rather well.

How many home runs might he have hit in that missing year nobody knows. But it's likely a safe bet the number would have been over the 19 he needed to pass the Babe. And he certainly would at least be in the 700 club.

But it was not to be, though the latter remains a definite possibility if the Yanks let him play out the rest of the season and get his fair share of at bats. Four more dingers doesn't sound like an awful lot.

What would truly be surprising is if the Yankees still had him on the roster next season. While $21 million is a whole lot of money to the average Joe, it's not that big of a deal in the world of professional sports, especially in New York with the owning Steinbrenners. The Yankees will likely pay him for doing nothing. Bet you wish you had a job like that.

Alas, poor A-Rod. It may not be quite over yet, but the fat lady is definitely warming up and the lights are getting dim.

It was quite a ride for all those years and this fan thanks you. The severance package ain't too shabby either.

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