October 16, 2012
Out of Left Field
Trading A-Rod: How, Where, and Why
Before Derek Jeter fractured his ankle on Saturday, talk of the Yankees centered on Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez is in a horrible slump and, unless he has a spectacular turnaround this month, baseball writers, fans and unnamed sources will spend the winter speculating about whether the Yankees will trade him. That, however, would be incredible. You see, the Yankees owe Rodriguez $126 million over the next five years*. Also, he has a no-trade clause. So, like swallowing a whole bunch of diamonds, trading A-Rod would be difficult, painful, and insanely expensive.
*This includes two reasonably reachable $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 660 and no. 714. It does not include three other $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 755, 762 and 763.
However, this is the season for difficult, painful, and insanely expensive trades, what with Boston dumping a quarter-billion dollars on the Dodgers. That deal required the waiving of two no-trade clauses, commissioner approval, six players passing through waivers, and another two being turned into PTBNLs to skirt the waiver rules. If ever a trade looked impossible, it was that one. Compared to that, dealing A-Rod during the offseason should be like eating just one or two smaller diamonds, right?
Maybe, but we can’t really address that until we understand why New York might want to get rid of him. To start, Rodriguez’s horrible slump happens to coincide with the playoffs, giving more ammunition to the New York tabloids and those Yankee fans who already see him as un-clutch and don’t mind screaming it from the rooftops. Those people need more ammunition like the natives did at Little Big Horn*, but more ammo is exactly what A-Rod is giving them each time he comes to bat.
* Wow, how’s that for a topical reference?
Of course no player is as bad as he looks when he’s striking out and A-Rod is no exception. That isn’t to say he’s hasn’t looked bad though. He’s struck out in 12 of 25 plate appearances, which, if you’ve seen him, probably surprises you in a good way. Which is bad.