With Alex Rodriguez’s playing time all but nonexistent lately and unlikely to increase, Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner met with the designated hitter on Wednesday night to gently break him the news that it was time to move on, details FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, who adds that the two probably talked on a few occasions before Rodriguez made a decision. A-Rod could have remained a member of the team, although he would’ve continued to garner few at-bats. The 41-year-old instead chose to make a more graceful exit, announcing Sunday that he’ll play his last game with the Yankees on Friday before taking on an advisory role with the club next season. He’ll also receive the nearly $27MM remaining on the contract he signed with the Yankees in 2007.
More reactions to the end of A-Rod’s career as a Yankee:
- In a report similar to Heyman’s, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that Steinbrenner and Rodriguez had two face-to-face meetings, and the owner didn’t give the player an ultimatum to retire or else. Rodriguez, in a face-saving move that will give him a chance to find post-playing opportunities in baseball, took the best deal for himself by agreeing to an amicable release, opines Sherman, who questions the importance of the 22-year veteran’s coaching role. Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has held a similar position with the Yankees for several years, but Sherman points out that his job is mostly ceremonial. That doesn’t mean A-Rod’s will be, however.
- The Yankees’ decision to part ways with Rodriguez came as a surprise to him, he told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. “I’m obviously disappointed but I’m also at peace with their decision,” said Rodriguez, who admitted that his relegation to the bench made him “very uncomfortable.” Rodriguez understood it, however, pointing to the organization’s youth movement. In addition to A-Rod, the Yankees have said goodbye to fellow veterans Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova since last weekend, and first baseman Mark Teixeira will retire at season’s end. On his new position with the franchise, Rodriguez stated, “The great news is, I’m going to be in a role I think I’m going to enjoy. I’m also going to learn a lot. The fact that Hal asked me to do this is something that I’ll treasure.”
- Regarding Rodriguez’s torrid 2009 postseason, one in which he hit .365/.500/.808 and guided the Yankees to a World Series championship, general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday, “That doesn’t happen without Alex’s significant contribution.” Not only that, Steve Politi of NJ.com argues that Cashman wouldn’t be the Yankees’ GM right now if for not that Rodriguez-fueled title. Since then, the Cashman-run franchise has lost three of five playoff series and a Wild Card game, and it’s likely to miss the postseason for the third time since 2013. But that 2009 triumph has helped keep Cashman in the fold and made it easier for ownership to swallow the club’s current retooling status, Politi contends.
- Rodriguez will technically collect more money going forward from his previous team, the Rangers, than the Yankees, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Texas agreed to pay $67MM of Rodriguez’s contract upon trading him to the Yankees in 2004 (a figure that changed after he opted out of the deal in 2007) and still owed him $26MM in deferred money when it went through bankruptcy in 2010. That sum has since grown to $40MM and will continue to increase via an investment account, a source told Grant. Importantly, the money A-Rod has coming to him from the Rangers – who have since changed owners – doesn’t come from their operating budget or impact their payroll. Rodriguez will receive the rest of the payout between this year and 2025.