Yankees Editorials: Should the Yankees fight Alex Rodriguez over home run bonuses?


Alex Rodriguez has long been baseball’s most polarizing figure, largely due to his large contract, his presumed ego, and naturally, PED’s.  Rodriguez, after taking a year off due to a PED related suspension, has been the best hitter on the New York Yankees, and it isn’t even close.  Truth be told, he’s been one of the best in the entire MLB, ranking among the league leaders in many categories, albeit the small sample size.  Without Rodriguez, the Yankees could be further than only two games back in the division.

Everything about Rodriguez’s suspension was bad press for the Yankees, yet his return has been the opposite.  Fans want to see him as much as they wanted to see Derek Jeter last year, and Mariano Rivera in 2013.  While fans wanted to see the two Yankee icons to cheer, they do the opposite for A-Rod.  Whether it is cheering or booing, the Yankees need a way to sell tickets, and raise television ratings.

More from Yankees News

Every at-bat by A-Rod is a show, and that is something the Yankees need this year.  With low expectations for the first time in a long time, A-Rod’s comeback is just about the only intriguing story surrounding the club.  If A-Rod weren’t succeeding, the story’s appeal would quickly diminish, as he would be yet another struggling veteran.

A-Rod entered play Tuesday with 658 home runs, 1980 RBI’s, 2951 hits, and 1929 runs.  The milestones that A-Rod accumulates are something that the Yankees can no longer continue to ignore.

His chase of Willie Mays (660), and possibly Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755), and Barry Bonds (762) all will gather the attention of fans.  So will his pursuit of 2000 RBI’s, as only Ruth, Aaron, and Cap Anson have reached the milestone.  Anson’s last game was all the way back in 1897.

A-Rod, who recently passed Jeter for ninth on the all-time runs list, needs only twenty more to pass Stan Musial and move into eighth.  He needs just 49 hits to become only the 29th player to ever reach the 3,000 hit plateau.

All of these milestones, give fans something to be excited for, as Rodriguez climbs up all-time leaderboards.  While some fans continue to dislike Rodriguez, he still attracts their attention, something rare among this group of Yankees.

The Yankees need Rodriguez both on the field, and off-the-field.  As hated as he is throughout baseball, it is still safe to say he has the largest fan base of any player on this roster.  We have seen for years now that Rodriguez is a much better player when his head is in the right place, and he doesn’t have off-the-field distractions.

Refusing to pay Rodriguez would only be an off-the-field distractions, and give A-Rod more to think about than hitting the baseball.  He is the healthiest he has been since 2010, and maybe even longer, and it is showing.  He also doesn’t have any current distractions, and has looked very focused on getting his pitch every at-bat.  If he were struggling, maybe it would be wise, but messing up the focus of the best hitter in a struggling offense isn’t wise.

The Yankees would be wrong to cause a distraction over $6 million, especially after saving money off his contract a year ago.  It is unlikely that A-Rod ends up collecting all $30 million, but if he does, then that will be only a little more than the money they saved in 2014.  It also will mean he hits at least 105 more home runs, something the Yankees struggling offense could use.

While the Yankees can argue that the suspension has changed circumstances of the bonus money, they cannot argue that the home run chases are still marketable.  They still will profit from his milestones, maybe not to the extent they expected to, and in a different way, but the basis of the Yankees argument that A-Rod is no longer marketable is simply not true.

What do you think?  Should the Yankees pay Rodriguez his bonuses?

Next: Yankees Editorials: Joe Girardi Will Be Tested

More from Yanks Go Yard