It may be time for some couple’s therapy. Alex Rodriguez now wants to salvage his marriage with the New York Yankees. However, the Yankees … well, they haven’t forgiven their beleaguered third baseman for his PED indiscretions. They’re trying to get out of that “pre-nup” they signed almost eight years ago. A-Rod just wasn’t the man they thought he was when they won his affections from the Texas Rangers.
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Rodriguez reached out to the Yankees last week. He wanted to apologize to team executives for his season-long suspension and litigious behavior much like he did with the new MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred. The Yankees brass are having none of it. They told Alex, “We’ll see you at spring training.”
In the meantime, the Yankees are frantically trying to void the marketing agreement they brokered with Alex when he famously opted out of his contract during the 2007 World Series. This is a separate deal from the $61 million that remains on his player’s contract. The Yankees looked into getting out of that one last year when A-Rod’s guilt in the Biogenesis steroid scandal became crystal clear. (And that didn’t work out for them.)
This is about the $6 million bonuses A-Rod is set to receive as he reaches certain home run milestones. He currently sits just six shy of Willie Mays’ record of 660 with Babe Ruth’s 714 on the distant horizon. The Yankees claim this deal is invalid because he violated MLB’s drug policy. All those PR appearances that were to be tied in with the hoopla of breaking records is pretty much worthless as even the Yankees own fans see Alex for the fraud he is.
Ironically, the Major League Baseball Players Association — the same group that A-Rod was threatening to sue just a year ago — will come to his defense. This is not so much about protecting the former All-Star shortstop-turned-third-baseman, but about protecting the sanctity of players’ contracts as a whole. The MLBPA does not want a precedent to be set that could be used against other players in the future.
Even if the Yankees can’t wiggle out of the incentives, they have already moved on from A-Rod. The team signed Chase Headley to a $52 million four-year deal after being impressed by his two-month stint at third base last season. Of course, A-Rod being A-Rod, he’s declaring he will win the third-base job. The Yankees seem to have other plans. GM Brian Cashman has said that they don’t know what to expect from Alex. He’s not even in the works to be the full time DH thanks to a log jam created by recovering sluggers Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, and the newly acquired lefty hitting Garrett Jones.
So can this marriage be saved? Will all be forgiven if Rodriguez begins bashing balls out of the park in the Bronx? Baseball may make for strange bedfellows, but when it comes to the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez, these differences may be too irreconcilable.