Yankees Ownership Extends Olive Branch to Alex Rodriguez


New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has made a strong effort to repair the club’s relationship with recently released former superstar Alex Rodriguez, at least publicly.

It’s fitting that Alex Rodriguez’s final days with the New York Yankees were marked by one controversy after another. Say what you want about A-Rod, but he was never boring.

There were plenty of stories to follow in his final week. Was Yankees manager Joe Girardi wrong to keep him on the bench? Had A-Rod been forced out by ownership? Would he play the field in his final game?

Even when the Yankees attempted to honor Rodriguez with a pregame ceremony before his final game, they were comically chased off the field by Mother Nature. I guess she’s not a big fan of A-Rod either.

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Many speculated that the decidedly non-storybook ending to his Yankees career would spur Alex Rodriguez to seek his happily ever after elsewhere. While things could always change, it no longer sounds very likely.

First, A-Rod’s publicist released a statement making it clear that, at the very least, Rodriguez would not play again this season. That did leave the door open for a return in 2017, but Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that Rodriguez told friends following his final game, “I’m done”.

Although A-Rod’s last days as a Yankee were undeniably bumpy, team owner Hal Steinbrenner seems like he is trying his best to keep things cordial with his former star. Many speculated that A-Rod’s special instructor position was just an empty title, but Hal recently indicated to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post that that wasn’t the case. 

In fact, Steinbrenner told Davidoff that he plans to ask Rodriguez to take on his first assignment this month, working with promising young shortstops Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo, who rank second and third on MLB Pipeline’s list of top Yankees prospects. 

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Both youngsters currently play for the High-A Tampa Yankees, not too far from Rodriguez’s Miami home. A-Rod reportedly played a crucial role in Didi Gregorius‘s development when he arrived in the Bronx. Hopefully he can provide a similar boost to Torres and Mateo.

Steinbrenner was effusive with his praise of Rodriguez, telling Davidoff, “I can’t think of anybody better to bring in for a week or two weeks. Next year, the plan would be he’s all over the place, like [Hideki] Matsui.”

It seems like Steinbrenner recognizes the depth of knowledge that Alex Rodriguez can bring to the table. He’s a smart guy who seems to be a natural teacher and communicator. One thing that Hal said stuck out:

"“Some of the great leaders we’ve had, on-the-field leaders, haven’t necessarily been good at taking a kid under their wing and really working with him. But I saw it with Didi [Gregorius] and [A-Rod] last year. And others have told me about [Robinson] Cano.”"

The best possible outcome would be if the Yankees can find a way to get past the past unpleasantness with A-Rod and keep him in the organization going forward. He is one of the most significant players in their history, and you would hate to see him not be able to show up for Old Timer’s Day and things like that.

As for enshrining Alex Rodriguez in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park, Steinbrenner didn’t rule it out when making an appearance on the Michael Kay Show earlier in August:

"It’s a bridge to cross when we come to it, but he has done a lot for this organization, on and off the field. And I’m talking about players way back, even Cano, who he was a mentor to. He’s done a lot for this organization on the field though the years, but also off the field that people don’t know about. He’s been a great mentor."

Next: Who Has the Brighter Future: Judge or Sanchez?

I’m sure there are many within the Yankees organization who were glad to see the back of Alex Rodriguez, but it’s nice to see owner Hal Steinbrenner working so hard to keep him in the fold in a meaningful way.