Well, Brian Cashman was allowed to start acting like a real general manager two years ago; and, he's taken on the enormous task of shrinking the Yankee's payroll which is the size of a medium sized city's budget. Still, Cashman sees the whole Alex Rodriguez affair, his failures in the clutch and his distractions with Jeter, his personal life being under constant scrutiny, as well as every word which comes from his lips, as a major pain in the franchise. Fans have been yelling "he's got to go" in between boos all last season. Now that everyone (in the Yankees organization) apparently has finally had it with him, in spite of public comments to the contrary, Cashman announces that the Yankees won't entice A-Rod to stay with more money should he decide to opt out of his contract.
Maybe that's what Alex wanted when it was announced a few weeks ago that his opt-out clause existed. Perhaps he needed the Yankees to dangle a big, fat carrot in front of his face in the form of a giant sack of hard cash to make him feel wanted. But, it seems that that plan back-fired. My belief was that Alex really wanted to ditch the team and play shortstop somewhere else, again, for a super-huge barrel of money.
If Alex was testing the waters for his next contract, or if he was trying to assess how much he is really wanted in New York, or both, he went about it the wrong way. If you're going to play poker Alex, don't blink. Alex not only blinks, a lot, he also hugs himself and rocks back and forth in public.
Cashman has ice water running through his veins. Not only does he have the luxury of having an All-Star, or potential All-Star at every position on the team, he would also like to lop $15-20 million off of his payroll. Waving bye-bye to Alex would do just that. What Brian would probably do if Rodriguez opted-out early would be to hire a third baseman for a fraction of the cost and use some of the dough he saved (minus the money spent on cake and ice cream for A-Rod's Bon Voyage party) and spend it on pitching. Trust me, A-Rod does want to leave; but only if he thinks it's on his terms, and not if everyone on the Yankees and the entire fan base was shoving him out through the stadium entrance. Quote from A-Rod: "Gulp".
In practice, therapists (I am told) often tell their patients to make their needs known. In Rodriguez's case, he should have kept his big, fat trap shut about his opt-out clause. Now he's telling everyone (for the umpteenth time) that he really, really, wants to stay in New York. Are you sure? Not even for a boat load of money to play shortstop somewhere like, Texas?
Suck it up, Alex. You might be miserable in New York, and money can't buy happiness. But, in your case, it makes one hell of a down payment.
March 22, 2007
Mr. Grudge is in Gotham Baseball Magazine!. Baseball fans should visit this website, subscribe to the magazine, and become active members of "Gotham Nation" by posting on the message boards. Gotham Baseball Magazine is a fast growing journal devoted to the past, present, and future of baseball. Don't miss out! Special thanks to the Editor in Chief of Gotham Baseball for his continued interest in my work.