THURSDAY: Rodriguez may not be entirely firm about his decision to retire, as he texted Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that “I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017. After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.” One of Rodriguez’s friends tells Feinsand that the slugger could decide to keep playing if he’s reasonably close to Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record. A-Rod currently has 687 homers, so he’s still a significant distance behind Bonds’ mark of 762.
WEDNESDAY: Long-time MLB star Alex Rodriguez has decided to retire after the 2017 season, he tells Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. The veteran will wrap up his career when his contract with the Yankees is up after next season.
Rodriguez, 40, will no doubt go down as one of the most talented and controversial players in baseball history. He went from hyped prospect to star in his first full season, a 1996 campaign with the Mariners in which he led the league in batting average while playing a stellar shortstop. That was his first of five outstanding seasons in Seattle and first of six in which he finished with an OPS of over 1.000.
Entering the open market in advance of his age-25 season, Rodriguez inked a ten-year, $252MM contract with the Rangers — an unheard-of sum at the time and still one of the three largest baseball player contracts ever. A-Rod continued to produce in Texas, finally winning an AL MVP award in 2003, though the club didn’t post a winning season over his three years.
Things took an interesting turn when Rodriguez was shipped to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano before the following season. Though he was still a quality defender up the middle, he moved to third base to play alongside Derek Jeter. Rodriguez went on to take home two more most valuable player nods in 2005 and 2007, then opted out of his deal in the midst of the World Series — only to strike yet another ten-year pact to stay in New York, this one for $275MM. Rodriguez ultimately helped lead the way to a 2009 World Series win, though his offensive production began to wane as he entered his mid-thirties.
PED allegations and a 2014 suspension significantly marred his legacy, however, and at one point it seemed in question whether he’d ever suit up for the Yankees again. But Rodriguez has, rather miraculously, managed to rebuild some of his public image and turned in a strong .250/.356/.486 campaign last year as the club’s regular DH.
New York owes Rodriguez $20MM in each of his final two campaigns. He’ll likely surpass Babe Ruth on the career home run list at some point before hanging up his spikes. While his performance record will always come with at least an implicit asterisk, Rodriguez already rates among the top 15 position players in history in terms of total fWAR.