Over the past couple of years, Alex Rodriguez has been a disappointment for the New York Yankees.
For the humongous 10-year, $275 million contract that he is signed to, his production should be a lot more than hitting .272 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. A-Rod was injured for a bit and played in only 122 games this year, but come on—someone with that type of contract should drive in 100 runs every year.
Rodriguez is signed through 2017, so his contract is not one that another team would be excited to take on. Not by a long shot. The Yankees will likely be paying Rodriguez the majority (or all) of the rest of his contract (no team in its right mind would trade for Rodriguez without making the Yankees pay for him).
So at the end of the day, I think the Yankees will keep him. Without a much better option at third base (Eric Chavez), the Yankees will be forced to use Rodriguez. Although there is a lot of pressure put on Rodriguez and the Yankees after getting swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS to end the season, the dust will eventually settle. This will provide Rodriguez with the environment he needs to make his comeback.
I compare Rodriguez’s situation to that of Barry Zito of the San Francsico Giants. After one bad performance after another, the Giants and their fans effectively gave up on Zito. I’m not saying Rodriguez is as disappointing as Zito was, but the lack of performance with such a large contract is similar.
With no more pressure, Zito somehow made a miraculous recovery and was strong all throughout the 2012 season and into the playoffs. After being benched for the last two ALCS games, Rodriguez has hit rock bottom. The expectations for A-Rod for the 2013 season are not as high as they have been for the past few years. As a result, he is poised for a strong year.
Realistically though, given how Rodriguez performed this year, his time in New York could be over. There were talks—although not credible—of Rodriguez possibly being traded to the Miami Marlins this coming off-season. This would be a great place for him to finish out his career.
Rodriguez grew up in Miami, and the Marlins are in need of a third baseman after trading away Hanley Ramirez. Rodriguez would undoubtedly draw attendance and bring some more excitement to the team and new stadium. The only issues with a trade of Rodriguez to the Marlins is his full no-trade clause and the amount left on his contract.
If Rodriguez though has a bad enough season in 2013 and things were to get worse in New York media-wise, I could see him waiving the no-trade clause in order to let this trade go through.
Yankees fans might be a bit reluctant to let A-Rod back in their hearts after some controversy in the postseason involving him “flirting” with fans behind the dugout. Rodriguez was apparently talking to women while the Yankees were losing, and this was subsequently published and made into a public spectacle.
All of this will go away though if Rodriguez gets hot to start out the 2013 season and carries the Yankees to a few early season wins. The Yankees look to be a power yet again in the AL East with the Red Sox rebuilding and no other teams posing major threats.
With the team performing well around him, A-Rod should be poised for a nice comeback after a relaxing offseason and has a very good chance of winning AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2013. Hopefully for Yankees fans, Alex Rodriguez will live up to his monster contract and start performing soon like they hoped he would.