Alex Rodriguez to Retire and Join Yankees as an Adviser
By DAVID WALDSTEIN AUG. 7, 2016 The Times
Wednesday morning ... Steinbrenner told Rodriguez, 41, that there would be no more at-bats for him as a Yankee, not this season or the next one, either, when he would be in the last year of his enormous $275 million contract.
This is part of the inconsistency that makes the Steinbrenner-Cashman cabal untrustworthy.
That same night the Yankees added minor league catcher Gary Sanchez to the roster and had Sanchez in the starting lineup as designated hitter (DH), the role that Alex Rodriguez had filled in 2015 and 2016. It was obvious at the time that the Yankees were squeezing Rodriguez in every possible way, apparently trying to provoke him into demanding to be released so that he could play, even if that meant he would lose all the millions of dollars that the Yankees owed him through 2017. Rodriguez did not fall for it.
When finally confronted with that reality, Steinbrenner made the deal reported Sunday morning: Rodriguez would leave as an active player and sign a new contract as an advisor through 2017, receiving all the money owed to him as a player. Rodriguez had better get better lawyers to review that than he had when fighting MLB lawyer Rob Manfred (now commissioner Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer) over his season long suspension. Steinbrenner is not to be trusted.
The Yankees claim that they need to suddenly rid themselves of Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira ASAP because they must give playing time to their minor league players. That plus the trading of valuable veterans since July 25 indicates that the Yankees had thrown in the towel and quit their attempt to qualify for the tournament in 2016.
However, the Yankees claim to still be trying to win games in order to qualify. If Rodriguez and Teixeira were taking plate appearances away from unproven players, wasn't Aaron Hicks also doing that? And yet Hicks continues to play as he did Sunday.
Rodriguez had a press conference Sunday morning to deal with his new status. But Rodriguez was not allowed to play in Sunday's game. So, who was DH? Not Sanchez but veteran catcher Brian McCann and the catcher was Austin Romaine. Sanchez did not play. Oh, and Hicks also played. Why haven't Tyler Austin and/or Aaron Judge been brought up from AAA to play instead of Hicks who is hitting worse than Rodriguez? So, again, why couldn't Rodriguez have played?
Instead, part of the deal is that Rodriguez will start one last game. But it won't be until Friday when the Yankees return from having played three games in Boston. Friday the Yankees are playing lowly Tampa and the Rodriguez farewell game will bolster attendance. After all, the Yankees already had scheduled nostalgic stuff for the next two games against Tampa and the Rodriguez finale fits right in to that playing Yankee fans for suckers theme.
Meanwhile, Girardi equivocates about whether Rodriguez will play in Boston. There is, of course, the danger that Rodriguez will hit well and make his being squeezed out look foolish. There's even the long shot that he'll get hot and belt those four homers he needs to reach 700. Having Rodriguez miss that very reachable milestone is an evil bonus for Steinbrenner and Cashman.
And if the Yankees are not playing Rodriguez because they are still trying to win, then why risk losing that game against Tampa with Rodriguez as DH? And if having Rodriguez take a roster spot from minor league players is a problem, why have Rodriguez doing that for the three games in Boston, plus the one against Tampa?
There is no consistency. It's a tangled web of deception. Steinbrenner and Cashman have long since abandoned logic and competency. Hal Steinbrenner "spit the bit" as his late father George would say and this convoluted Rodriguez mess is part of the damage. Cashman is the Machiavellian minister pulling the strings.