Alex Rodriguez has likely played his last game as a member of the New York Yankees, regardless of what happens with the latest allegations of his performance-enhancing drug use. This comes from Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, who cites numerous baseball sources that indicate that Rodriguez’s recent hip surgery “will likely derail his playing career" and would likely force him into a diminished role if he continued to play.
This information has led the Daily News to speculate that Rodriguez and that Yankees could reach a settlement to buy out the remaining five years and $114 million left on the aging third baseman’s contract. Some have speculated that Rodriguez could elect retirement as opposed to returning to baseball as the most hated player in baseball, and possibly, in all of sports.
“I don’t know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him,” one baseball official told the Daily News.
“If he did that, he’d be a part-time player and presumably unable to achieve any of the incentive clauses in the contract or even the milestones.”
According to Madden, New York Yankees officials had been preparing for the possibility that Rodriguez would never finish out his 10 year, $275 million dollar contract signed in 2007 even before the latest steroid allegations. On Tuesday, Rodriguez and several other major league players were linked to Anthony Bosch, who is the subject of federal, state and Major League Baseball drug investigations relating to his Miami wellness clinic.
If Rodriguez were to retire because of the injury, the Yankees could be able to recoup 85% of the contract’s total cost through an insurance policy they had taken on the contract. This would allow the Yankees to finally get Rodriguez's albatross of a contract off their books. Additionally, it would bring them well under their $189 million spending cap and keep them away from the risks of an increased luxury tax burden. This is similar to the situation that the Baltimore Orioles faced a decade ago with Albert Belle.
The other alternative is that Rodriguez would complete a lengthy rehab process and return in a diminished role. However, Rodriguez’s ego would likely not allow him to stay in a part-time role, playing at a level far below his own expectations, for long. If Rodriguez were to voluntarily retire, the Yankees would be able to engage him in settlement talks to recoup part of the remainder of his contract.
With performance-enhancing drug allegations and a federal investigation hanging over his head, Rodriguez could very well elect to retire from baseball. By retiring, Rodriguez would also be able to avoid a potential 50-game ban for steroid use. As Madden points out, any potential suspension could be increased if Commissioner Bud Selig determines that Rodriguez has lied to baseball officials regarding steroid use over the past several years.
These latest allegations will ensure that Rodriguez will forever need a ticket to enter Baseball’s Hall of Fame, and for A-Rod, it may be time to walk away citing his hip, collect his money, and disappear into the background. If nothing else, that is what the New York Yankees are clearly hoping to have happen.
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