Alex Rodriguez lost his appeal today and has been sentenced to a 162 game suspension. He’s 38 years old, has bad hips, and is about to take a 14 month unpaid vacation. So, will we be seeing Rodriguez in pinstripes in 2015?
After his suspension, Rodriguez will still be owed roughly $61 million over three seasons. This is not the NFL, where contracts are written on tissue paper. The MLB Player’s Union is arguably the strongest union on the planet. After the suspension is served, Rodriguez is free to return to the Yankees for the conclusion of his contract, no matter how much they may not want him there. In that regard, Rodriguez will almost certainly return to baseball. Even if he spends the following three years on the disabled list, he will collect his money. Other than ridicule from everyone around him, he has no reason not to return.
The average person would probably retire, enjoy the $300 million already earned in their career, and fade into the shadows. I do not see that with Rodriguez. He was a player that wanted everybody to love him early in his career, but now he almost relishes the evil role the media has given him. He has no problem putting himself directly in the middle of an awkward situation and smiling about it. Beyond that, he loves baseball more than anything else in his life. He will try to come back in 2015, no question about it.
We have a strong idea concerning Rodriguez’s intentions moving forward. What will the Yankees do next season? As I mentioned, they cannot get out from under the final three years of this contract. The Yankees can outright release him, they can trade him, or they can keep him on the roster. Releasing him makes little sense. They would not save any money, and any other team would be free to sign him. A trade is possible, but difficult to pull off. In order to get Rodriguez moved, the Yankees would most likely need to pay about $55 million of the $61 million left owed to him. Even if the Yankees find a team willing to take him, he has a full no trade clause that he has previously stated he would not waive. I would not be surprised to see Rodriguez in the Yankees’ dugout in the spring of 2015. The other options are just too difficult to get through.
A-Rod will be 40 the next time he is eligible to play for the Yankees. That is an old ball player for anyone, especially a player whose body is shutting down on him after years of abusing steroids. He will continue to put in the work. No one is denying how hard he prepares for games. He will get himself in the best shape he can. After all, in his mind, he needs to come back to prove everybody wrong and win the fans back as soon as possible.