The Detroit Tigers are headed to the World Series for the eleventh time in franchise history after sweeping the New York Yankees in the best-of-seven American League Championship. The Tigers had a marvelous performance in the ALCS and are very well deserving of their spot in the World Series, but Thursday night was more about the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez than the Tigers.
Led by triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera and ALCS MVP Delmon Young, the Tigers made the Yankees look like Minor Leaguers, who were fazed by the pressure that comes with the MLB playoffs.
With the highest payroll in baseball (by more than $75 million), the Yankees should be able to produce some wins, but all their stars struggled, especially in the postseason. It almost seemed like the more money they were making, the worse they played in the playoffs. Robinson Cano batted a .075 ($14 million), Curtis Granderson batted a .100 ($10 million), and their $30 million-dollar man, Alex Rodriguez, batted a horrendous .120. A-Rod got to a point where he was playing so bad that manager Joe Girardi chose to sit him for three of their nine playoff games and play Eric Chavez instead.
Time isn’t exactly on Rodriguez’s side either, as he is turning 38 years old in July, and his prime is presumably behind him. When his contract expires in 2017, A-Rod will be 42 years old, and will still be making $20 million.
The Yankees are in a really bad position with A-Rod, as he is owed $114 million over the next five years and has a no-trade clause. So unless Rodriguez consents to be traded, the Yankees are stuck with his contract and lack of performance. If Girardi continues to sit him, they would be essentially paying him millions of dollars just to sit on the bench. Rodriguez has already stated that he intends to return to the Yankees next season, and the Yankees can’t be too happy about that.
Even if the Yankees were to find a team to take on Rodriguez’s unprecedented contract, he would have to consent and waive his no-trade clause. In addition, the Yankees would have to swallow over $100 million just to get him off the books.
At this point, A-Rod is his own GM; he controls his destiny, and there is nothing the Yankees can do about it. It is one thing to spend millions of dollars when it translates to good performance, but that has not been the case, and there is almost nothing the Yankees can do.
A possible trade scenario that has been discussed is a deal with the Florida Marlins, but it all goes back to Rodriguez’s no-trade clause.
With so many accolades and so many years in the league, at this point in his career, Rodriguez is likely going to seek out his own comfort and financial gain over the good of the organization.
This is not to say that Rodriguez is not a great baseball player. He has three AL MVPs, two gold gloves and a World Series championship.
The numbers don’t lie, Rodriguez’s past speaks for itself, but the Yankees don’t care about what he has done for them in the past. They need him now, and so far, at least this year, he has not come through. Since signing his $275 million contract in 2007, Rodriguez’s play has declined year by year, and this year it seemed like he hurt the team more than he helped it.
A-Rod has stated his intent to train in the offseason and return next year with a “vengeance.” But if he doesn’t, the Yankees will be paying a 40-year-old fan $20 million to cheer for them from the bench.
The Tigers, on the other hand, are celebrating their AL championship, as they await the winner of the Cardinals-Giants series. They will have to wait for their recognition, as once again, the baseball world is revolving around the New York Yankees.