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October 29, 2007 at 6:26 am ET
Life after Alex

There was life before Alex Rodriguez, and there will be life after.  When A-rod came to the New York Yankees before the 2004 season, I was not a fan of the move.  I did not want to inherit his outrageous salary and all the problems that carried with it.

He went on to win two MVPs, prove his athletic ability by adapting to a new position, and showed he is one of the greatest talents in the game.  But Alex is never one to stick around when the going gets tough.  He left the Seattle Mariners for a giant payday.  He left the Texas Rangers when he couldn’t make them winners.  And now he leaves the New York Yankees at a time when the team is in transition for yet another payday.

And at this point, a day after the last pitch was thrown in the 2007 World Series, things do seem bleak in the Bronx.  But after thirteen seasons of winning and outrageous salaries, getting the A-rod monkey off its back might be a positive thing for the team.

What Alex could have done – he could have resigned with the Yankees, at a quite impressive raise by most standards, and for the first time given a team in transition the understanding he was there because he wanted to be.  By the time he turned 40, he would have been a New York Yankee for a decade, solidifying himself as one of the greats.  He would have showed fans – not to mention his colleagues around the league – that he was willing to stick around during the dark days, so that when the next golden age arrives – and it will arrive with or without A-Rod – he could back up his claims that it’s not just about the money.

But that did not happen.  So at age 32, Alex is a journeyman bat for hire who will join his fourth team this fall.  He will hit the hell out of the ball for the first six months of the year, then disappear in October.  He will break Barry Bonds’ homerun record, not to mention a number of other records.  He will become the face of whichever franchise ponies up the most cash.  But in the end, you’re always judged on how many World Series titles you lead your team to. 

Alex brings some big numbers – home runs, RBI, millions in salary – but the most important number still remains zero.

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6 Responses to “Life after Alex”
  1. Adam Godson says:

    Nicely put, Jon. I can’t believe he’s opting out. Any guesses on what jersey he’ll wear in the Hall of Fame, or will he get one of those nice Gaylord Perry threads with 10 logos on it?

  2. I know this might sound crazy, but why is A-Rod opting out the end of his run in NY? Are the Yankees really unprepared to pay the best player in baseball market value? Since when did they become so cheap? What, he’s a good value only when the Rangers are paying one-third of the salary? I think they shot themselves in the foot when they talked big and said they wouldn’t negotiate with him if he opted out. Why wouldn’t you test the market? Because the Yankees are the best spot for free agents? That’s a dangerous assumption, especially about a guy who already knows what it means to play there. Still, I think the long-term health of the team will be helped tremendously by having him off the squad. That guy’s kryptonite.

  3. Jon says:

    I’m curious to discover A-Rod’s “market value” as Cameron puts it. What is the value of a guy who doesn’t win championships, poisons clubhouses, and has no concept of team? I’m sure this is wishful thinking, but I hope that in the end he gets less than the Yanks offered him to stay. Is there a ceiling to how much stupid GMs will pay him per year? 30MM? 35MM? I’ve read rumors that suggest possibly extending some form of team ownership to A-Rod (mostly about the Cubs). This could get outrageous, but if I were a Yankee fan, I’d be happy he’s gone.

  4. Adam Godson says:

    The ownership thing won’t happen, because it’s against league rules, but it will be interesting to see market value. I think the Yanks are going to stick by their guns and let him walk, though I think A-Rod will be disappointed in what the market says. My guess is a 5 year, 135MM deal with the Angels.

  5. Jason R says:

    1) ARod exercised his contractual right to leave. Fine. I can handle that. It’s a business. No griping here about loyalty. Loyalty, for the most part, ceases to exist. Loyalty can defined as the highest bidder. My longstanding mantra: The Essence of Loyalty is Reciprocity
    2) I’m disappointed to see him go since he singlehandedly carried the team this year. You can’t replace 54 HR and 156 RBI.
    3) I can’t fault Boras; that’s his job. I can fault him for letting this go at the time it did (see #4)
    4) I think the timing is reprehensible. This is not a Yankee story, yet it becomes one. They had 10 days to announce this, yet opted for the 2nd inning of the clinching game, when the game wasn’t even decided. Just terrible. Have some respect for your peers.
    5) Using the uncertainty of Posada, Mo, et al, is just as transparent as ARod’s claims that he wants to remain in NY for the rest of his career. If he was truly concerned about that, all he had to do was wait a few days and it’s possible they’d both be re-signed. But, see #1 above.
    6) Save the excuses. It’s only about the money. Just say it and we can all move on.
    7) Yankee mgmt can not ever speak about loyalty; they didn’t exactly offer Torre a deal that would keep him loyal, did they?
    8) Yankee fans, like most if they are honest, are schizophrenic. I killed ARod after the meltdown last post-season. And we rooted for him like mad this season. It’s only due to the outsized expectations he’s earned. We expected him to live up to his own regular-season performance, at some point. Fans boo when their stars/teams fail to live up to their expectations. And the biggest, brightest, highest paid ones get the most praise/boos depending on the outcomes. Think it will be any different wherever he signs next, just because he’s out of NY?
    9) Boston completely deserves all the praise and titles they have earned. Their young talent has emerged, they have made a few excellent trades and they have the financial wherewithal to absorb poor FA signings. They’ve become a great blend of home grown talent with the wallet to fill needs anytime. The Yanks are also following that model. In the last few years, they have a new found respect for building a farm system and depending on what source you like better, the Yanks have at worst a Top 10 farm system now.
    10) I already don’t like Hank a whole lot, but the one thing I agreed with was the “if you don’t want to be here, goodbye” thing. The “real Yankee” stuff is just overblown, like mystique and aura.

  6. Adam C. says:

    I’m glad the Yankees are letting him go without a fight. It’s time to start rebuilding; time to get away from the practices that are also the reasons the Yankees are hated so much, and which have not shown success in the postseason. Cashman needs to start relying more on scouts/advisors and start finding players that can compete in the postseason and who understand what the old saying means – there is no I in team. Time to get some damn pitching. The Yankees want to play the what have you done for me lately (in the postseason) card with Torre, and then wanted to reward A-Rod, who hasn’t done shit lately in the postseason. I understand that you’re going to offer big money to A-Rod for potential, but for him to have one of the best regular seasons in history and then finish up with another shitty October – doesn’t show much potential to me. I say good riddance.

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