The marriage between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees has gone sour. You could make the case that it’s been that way for some time, but they’ve toughed it out, you know, for the kids. Or perhaps it was the little matter of $275 million. As the playoffs have progressed, and moved on without the Yankees, the New York media and more reactionary members of their fan base can begin devoting their energies to calling for the removal of Alex Rodriguez from the Bronx. He’s “un-clutch,” he’s a distraction and doesn’t even pay attention to the game. True, the aging third baseman has struggled, but the point is, New York is angry at Alex Rodriguez, and it’s said that the organization could be looking to move him once the season is over. If they were to do so, it’s highly likely they would have to eat much of, if not all of that monstrosity of a contract that has A-Rod earning $114M more from 2013-2017. That figure doesn’t include the extras, which include $6M additional for reaching each milestone of 660, 714 and 755 homeruns as well as tying and breaking the major league HR record (that would be the 762 belonging to Barry Bonds). He also has additional non-monetary perks included along with a full no-trade clause, but let’s not get into those. It’s quite a contract.
And here’s a picture of Alex Rodriguez making friends. (William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)
The overwhelming response from what I’ve seen on social media, White Sox websites and from actual real people that group noises that exit their mouths together to form sentences and opinions is some variation of “keep Alex Rodriguez the hell away from U.S. Cellular Field.” How bad would it be though, if, say, the Yankees volunteered to foot the bill?
Let’s assume for a moment that the Yankees do make such an offer. They say, “sure, we’ll take on the cost, we’ll deal him for a couple of might-stick prospects.” Is this a move the White Sox should look to make? Should they say no, just because he is Alex Rodgriguez and isn’t a terribly likable fellow?
The biggest problem with automatically turning it down is that the White Sox don’t have a third baseman. Once Kevin Youkilis is allowed to walk, as I presume he will be once his 2013 club option is declined, the Sox will once again be without a credible player to play third base. Brent Morel is going to get another opportunity just because he’s there, but we’ve explored his failures in 2012 and I’m not alone in having next to zero confidence in him getting his act together at this point. The rest of the minor league ranks have nothing to offer in this regard, not right now, or roster spots wouldn’t have been lent out to the Ray Olmedo and Orlando Hudson’s of the world. Free agency, then, yes? Well David Wright has a 2013 club option that’s likely to get picked up by the Mets, as does Mark Reynolds with the Orioles (Reynolds and Adam Dunn in the same lineup would result in team strikeout records without a doubt). Youkilis has an option that, as mentioned, the Sox are likely to decline, but re-signing him for a lesser amount is not an impossibility, but what is he even worth at this point? After that, the drop off is steep, the available players left beyond those mentioned are well past their prime or unlikely to contribute any longer. We’re talking Brandon Inge (who has an option to overcome as well, actually, though not as sure a thing) and Mark DeRosa types.
Performance-wise, let’s use Youkilis as a comparison as he’s the best alternative for the job right now. Both A-Rod and Youk missed significant time in 2012 with injuries and both managed to appear in 122 games during the season. A quick look at how they performed:
Even in this imagining, in which the Yankees are in such a mood to help the Pale Hose out that they are sending over $100 million with their aging distraction, they are going to want something in return. Players to plug into their day-to-day lineup, supplement their bench, or finish their development within the Yankee system. This is where the scales tip. Who would the Sox be willing to hand over to the Yankees in return for Alex Rodriguez? If it’s not Brent Morel himself, I’m just not sure I’d be comfortable with anybody. It would have to be a player that has made it to the major league level and failed. Nobody with a shot, with something yet to prove and chance to date to prove it. In short, I wouldn’t send a lotto ticket to the Yankees regardless of the long odds in exchange for Alex Rodriguez. It wouldn’t be worth it at that point. Rodriguez is 37 years old, and his decline is already apparent. By the time this contract expires, barring some sort of epiphany that allows him to extend his production, he’ll be virtually useless. If that costs nothing, fine. If it costs anything at all, pass.It’s clear that, though similar, Alex Rodriguez was the more valuable player. In addition to the above hitting stats, Alex Rodriguez gets the nod defensively and on the basepaths as well. Now if you factor in the fact that Youkilis will need to get paid, since there is nobody that hates him enough to pay his salary while he plays elsewhere in the next few years (we’re still pretending that Rodriguez is effectively free salary-wise) the White Sox would be out a few million on him, per year. So which player would you prefer in this scenario? The one who is better and free, or the one bringing slightly less to the table and costs money?
The presences of Alex Rodriguez on the South Side wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but breathe easy, Sox fans. It’s also not likely to happen.