Ron Berkowitz, he spokesperson for Alex Rodriguez says that his client intends to come to Spring Training, but as a special adviser rather than a player, as Christian Red of the New York Daily News reports. Rodriguez had previously announced that he would not play again in 2016, with reports suggesting he did not have plans to attempt a future comeback, though this is perhaps the clearest indication yet that the 41-year-old is likely beyond his playing days.
Since wrapping up his tenure with the Yankees with an agreement that gave him an ongoing role with the organization even as he was released from the roster, Rodriguez has taken a well-reviewed turn as a postseason baseball analyst. Now, he’s “looking forward to heading to spring training to work with the young guys as he has said all along,” per Berkowitz.
While it may seem like a needless formality to address Rodriguez’s playing situation, it had been at least somewhat ambiguous as to whether he’d consider trying to make a return. And there’s little question that organizations would consider bringing him into camp. Though A-Rod posted an anemic .200/.247/.351 batting line in his final season in the majors, he’s also a historically great player who slashed .250/.356/.486 and hit 33 home runs in 2015.
Indeed, the Marlins acknowledged having some interest in the long-time star last August. Miami and other organizations might be intrigued to see whether there’s anything left in the tank, with the added benefit of bringing in a major draw who is just four dingers away from becoming just the fourth player ever to hit 700 in his career. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that New York will be footing the bill for Rodriguez (at $21MM).
It seems, though, that such a dramatic effort will not be undertaken. No doubt, it would have drawn an inordinate amount of attention, if not some controversy, given Rodriguez’s high profile and PED-filled past. Instead, as organizations prepare to open camp in advance of the 2017 season, the veteran will draw cameras during his stint as an instructor.