The news of Alex Rodriguez's alleged involvement with a Miami anti-aging clinic that's believed to be a supplier of HGH and other banned substances to professional baseball players has been met with the predictable response from the gallery.
A-Rod's further stained his legacy and the Yankees, which is all the reason in the world for the Yankees to get rid of him right away. One might want to actually wait for some kind of certainty about what's still being investigated, but his past steroid use definitely makes it easier to jump to conclusions in this case.
According to a report in the Daily News, the Yankees would like to follow public opinion. The report has A-Rod "unlikely" to ever wear pinstripes again.
"I don’t know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him,” said a baseball official. “If he did that, he’d be a part-time player and presumably unable to achieve any of the incentive clauses in the contract or even the milestones."
You really don't know why? The $114 million left on his contract should be a pretty good hint.
People just don't walk away from that, especially people who have already spent the better part of a decade being booed by the crowd at his home stadium and have presumably come up with a coping mechanism for it. The idea that A-Rod is bothered by being on the Yankees as much as fans and columnists are bothered by it is wishful thinking.
Unless Rodriguez's doctors find a reason why he is physically incapable of continuing his playing career, the Yankees are going to have to pay him his money. Their embarrassment is theirs and theirs alone, especially since signing A-Rod through 2017 was completely their own doing.
Since that's the case, why would they just cut him loose? Hal Steinbrenner refuses to allow moves that will add any money to the payroll beyond this season so that he can make a bigger profit in the coming years and then he's going to turn around and spend that kind of money to pay someone not to play for them?
It doesn't make sense, even if there's no reason to think that Rodriguez has better days coming around any corner. Joe Girardi doesn't have to write his name in the lineup with Kevin Youkilis on the team and the idea that he'd be a distraction seems like a stretch given how much the Yankees have won despite his myriad distractions over the years.
What if Youkilis gets hurt, though? Rodriguez wasn't Rodriguez of old last year, but he was still a player with major league talent and the Yankees don't have another one of those who can play third base if Eduardo Nunez is already in the lineup.
Rodriguez probably wasn't making it to 2017 even without this latest imbroglio. Giving him the boot now would satisfy an emotional need, but the financial and baseball ones should outweigh it.