Friday, August 12, 2016

The Sloppy End of the Yankees-A-Rod Era

© by Gerald So | | 6:00 A.M.

As a Yankee fan, I never wanted Alex Rodriguez on the team. In his prime, Alex played shortstop, and the Yankees had a shortstop, Derek Jeter. When the Texas Rangers couldn't afford to pay out the 10-year, $252 million contract they made with Alex, and the players' union voided his trade to Boston, the Yankees emerged as the only team that could eat swallow the contract.

Even so, Alex would have to move to third base, and the Yankees had a third baseman, 2003 ALCS hero Aaron Boone, at least until Boone injured his leg in a fateful game of pickup basketball.

Alex's first season in New York was an error-prone media circus as he apparently struggled to fit on the team. Just as he got comfortable, the evidence of steroid use surfaced, his denials, half-admissions, lies, his legal action against the union and the team...

He served the longest MLB player suspension to date, came back and had a nice season last year filling in for an injured Carlos Beltran at DH, surgeries on both hips leaving him without the lateral mobility to play third base. This year, with Beltran healthy, Alex hadn't found a spot in the lineup. When he has played, like many aging Yankees, he's struggled.

Last Sunday, the Yankees announced A-Rod would have one more week as a player before becoming a special advisor to owner Hal Steinbrenner. While it was a sign fences had been mended, it's put an unneeded spotlight on Alex's last days as a Yankee. Despite trading away the best pieces of this year's team, the Yankees still have an outside shot at the playoffs, and the organization hates to throw in the towel completely. That philosophy doesn't jibe with giving Alex this farewell week.

The team could have honored A-Rod later with a quieter ceremony announcing his advisor position, or they could have released him without ceremony. I think A-Rod's stature led everyone to handle his exit too carefully and ultimately incorrectly.

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