According to multiple sources, the New York Yankees are so eager to move Alex Rodriguez that they have already begun trade talks even though the team is still alive in the playoffs. Keith Olbermann has identified the Miami Marlins as an interested team, which makes some sense since A-Rod spent a good portion of his childhood in South Florida.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has denied that such talks have taken place, which is understandable considering he is currently focused on the ALCS.
For many, the biggest hangup to the Yankees moving A-Rod is his contract, as he is due to receive approximately $120 million over the next five years. New York would almost certainly have to pay most of A-Rod’s remaining salary in order to get the deal done.
But let’s be honest: if the Yankees really wanted him out, his salary would not be an issue. According to Forbes, the Yankees generated $129 million more than the next-highest revenue team in baseball. Additionally, MLB just re-negotiated its national television contracts, and the ESPN deal alone will increase every team’s revenues by $13 million starting in 2014.
In reality, salary is well behind several other issues standing in the way of Alex Rodriguez being shipped out of New York. Chief among them, of course, is…
He has a full no-trade clause.
This was one of the terms of the last contract he signed with the Yankees, and it gives him the right to veto any trade. Getting A-Rod to waive his no-trade clause when he worked so hard to get to New York in the first place will not be easy, even as A-Rod has expressed disappointment over his recent benchings in this year’s playoffs.
And before you ridicule the Yankees for this part of the deal, Alex Rodriguez would be able to reject any trade even without the clause in his contract. A-Rod is a 10-and-5 player, meaning he is a ten-year veteran who has spent at least five consecutive years with his current club. All MLBers who meet these requirements have the ability to veto any trade, as per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
His skills are in decline.
In truth, A-Rod’s numbers were actually not all that bad. His .272/.353/.430 slash line was good for a 112 OPS+, meaning that he was actually 12% better than the average hitter in the Majors this past season. His bat is no longer able to carry a lineup, but A-Rod’s production are perfectly acceptable for a league-average third baseman.
But A-Rod’s 2012 numbers represent the worst full season of his storied career and a significant dropoff from his mid-2000s peak. At age 37, he is highly unlikely to revert back to previously-seen levels. If anything, A-Rod’s numbers are only going to decline further over the last five years of his contract. It also means that Rodriguez is highly unlikely to reach many of the career milestones that were projected for him when he signed the contract following the 2007 season.
In other words, Alex Rodriguez is hardly a long-term solution at third base.
This is not to say that A-Rod could not still be a useful player for a contending team looking for the final piece. He is still a historic talent, and those types of players always have a chance to reach previous levels of greatness. Unfortunately for contending teams…
He has earned the reputation as a prima donna.
We could spend all day arguing about whether this is fair or not, but it remains a simple truth that Alex Rodriguez has the reputation for having a serious ego trip. Things have just added up over the years: He has been accused of having ridiculous demands in the clubhouse, made the terrible move of opting out of his last contract at the worst possible time for baseball, and supposedly has a bizarre canvas of him as a centaur above his bed.
No player in baseball seems to surround himself with as much drama as Alex Rodriguez. Whether it’s his infamous ”popcorn moment” with Cameron Diaz, his shopping dispute involving his current girlfriend, or his recent flirtation with a bikini model during the playoffs, A-Rod always seems to have something crazy going on in his personal life.
And this is before we get to his on-field issues, such as his admitted steroid usage with the Rangers, the slapping incident in the 2004 playoffs, and his rumored involvement in a pitch-tipping scheme with opposing players.
Needless to say, it is not exactly difficult to make an argument against adding Alex Rodriguez to a clubhouse.
It may be true that the New York Yankees have decided that Alex Rodriguez just is not worth the trouble at this point in his career, and there may be some truth to that idea. But it is tough to see the club actually pulling off an A-Rod trade, regardless of how much of his salary they offer to pay. There are just too many reasons for teams not to trade for A-Rod, and the benefits just are not there anymore.