Forget The All-Star Game, Could Alex Rodriguez Be In The Home Run Derby?


Major League baseball has unveiled its All-Star ballot, now digital only, for the 2015 game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. On the ballot, you see the usual big names. If you make your way to the DH role, you will see a space reserved for Mr. Alex Rodriguez.

Many of us at Yanks Go Yard were wondering if A-Rod would be included on the ballot. Rodriguez has had a very quiet first month of the season in terms of controversies. There is still a debate over whether the New York Yankees will pay him for his home run milestones, but that is a Yankees issue. A-Rod has said nothing about the matter.

MLB did the right thing in allowing Rodriguez to be on the ballot. Not only should he be held to the same standard as any other major league player, but he has had a strong start to the season. He is hitting .232 with a .369 OBP. While a recent slump has his batting average dragging, he’s already hit five home runs and driven in 13 runs – both second to Mark Teixeira. Leading the team in walks has helped his OBP, but he also leads the team in strikeouts. More at bats should get him back in rhythm. This is his first month batting every day in over a year.

Rodriguez is actually hitting better than everyone’s favorite “I didn’t do steroids” DH David Ortiz. Ortiz is hitting .236 with a .337 OBP, four home runs, and 11 RBI. The stats are nearly identical, but A-Rod has the edge in everything other than batting average.

There is a pretty decent chance that Rodriguez may get voted to the American League All-Star game. The bigger question is could he be invited to hit in the Home Run Derby? Under the current format, each league has a captain elected. That captain then selects four players from their league to participate. Rodriguez, should his home runs continue, should be considered to participate. He is one of the best home run hitters of all time. Then there is the other side of the issue. He is the face of steroids. Ryan Braun embarrassed himself when he was eventually caught using steroids and it does not even come close to A-Rod’s level of uncouth behavior. Aside from reportedly taking steroids and providing steroids to other players in baseball, he purchased documents in order to prevent Major League Baseball from getting to the bottom of its investigation. He wasn’t simply a steroid user, he was a steroid kingpin. The Commissioner’s office knows it, the Yankees know it, most fans know it, and he is still playing baseball.

In theory, there should be nothing to stop Rodriguez from participating in the Home Run Derby if he is asked. Many players turn down the opportunity, but he would love to be in this position. MLB may tell the AL captain to avoid picking him, but word of that would get out quickly. I imagine that if Rodriguez has at least 14 home runs by late June that he would be a legitimate consideration.

This All-Star game is already interesting because Pete Rose is allowed to participate in the festivities. Rose has been banned from baseball since August 24th, 1989 for his involvement in betting on baseball. With a new Commissioner at the helm, Robert Manfred, Rose fans are clamoring for a reinstatement and this All-Star shows great promise that it may just happen.

If Rodriguez participates in this Home Run Derby, it would also take attention off Rose. As someone that wants to see Rose in the Hall of Fame, I hope that is exactly how the long weekend in July plays out. It would take a personality the size of Rodriguez’s to make Pete Rose look like an afterthought.