A-Rod goes from All-Star to annoyance for Yankees
BY RONALD BLUM Associated Press
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 5:45 AM
NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez was speaking on a conference call.
"A huge debacle," he said. "Distasteful."
That was on Dec. 13, 2007, when he re-signed with the New York Yankees and was discussing his decision 1 1/2 months earlier to become a free agent.
Now those words describe how some in the team's front office feel about A-Rod's $275 million, 10-year contract.
Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance for some in the Yankees organization. He hasn't played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he's out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16 and now he's been accused of again receiving performance-enhancing drugs - an allegation he denies.
Even before the charges were published Tuesday by the alternative weekly Miami New Times along with accusations against Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, some Yankees executives were wishing Rodriguez would just go away. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the team isn't publicly commenting on A-Rod's latest troubles, they revealed their frustration with the slugger.
And they have a big incentive for Rodriguez to disappear. If he doesn't play again due to a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he's owed by the team would be covered by insurance, according to one of the executives who spoke on condition of anonymity.
New York also might be able to free itself from having the $27.5 million average annual value of Rodriguez's contract count in its luxury tax payroll in each of the next five seasons, a key factor as the Yankees try to get under the $189 million threshold in 2014.
If Rodriguez is on the disabled list, his contract is included. But if he's on the voluntary retired list, it would not be part of the total.
And if the Yankees fall under that $189 million benchmark, their luxury tax rate would drop from its current 50 percent to 17.5 percent for 2015. That would give them far more flexibility to pursue pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander if they become free agents following the 2014 season.
Even before the latest kerfuffle, Rodriguez seemed to have worn out his welcome.
Yankees management tired of spotting him on the gossip pages with Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson. They made their displeasure public in 2010 when they said they never authorized Rodriguez to be treated by Dr. Anthony Galea, who said he prescribed anti-inflammatories to Rodriguez after the first hip operation.
Then came last year's playoffs, when Rodriguez was benched in three of nine games and pinch hit for in three others. He flirted with women in the stands after he was removed from the AL championship series opener against Detroit.
Rodriguez's 647 home runs are 115 shy of tying Barry Bonds' career record but he has totaled just 34 the past two seasons, and his 38th birthday is in late July.
Alex Rodriguez is again at the center of performance-enhancing drug-use allegations. PAUL SANCYA/Associated Press file