By Ernie Palladino
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The chatter on the airwaves indicates there is a major movement to have Alex Rodriguez traded after yet another sub-par — well, that’s understating things a bit — postseason.
It’s an understandable reaction after watching A-Rod leave a pack of runners on base and, basically, fail to contribute to the Yankees’ offense in any meaningful way once the regular season ended.
But, really, they can’t be serious.
For all the hysteria surrounding that .120 postseason batting average and his flirty attitude with the girls while still in the throes of that slump, the fact is the Yankees need his bat in the lineup.
This is a home run-hitting team, and that makeup is not likely to change soon. Even with a 38-year-old Rodriguez at third, the Yanks will still be better off than most teams who don’t have an A-Rod playing third. He may never play more than 120 games in the field again, but at least his bat will be available in the designated hitter role.
Let us not forget that Rodriguez could become the all-time home run king. With 647 dingers, he must average 23 homers over the next five years to equal Barry Bonds’ mark of 762. Preferably without the help of performance-enhancing drugs, that is.
Those numbers are doable, even for an aging slugger. Rodriguez had 18 homers this year, certainly a low number for him. But remember, he only played in 122 games because of a broken hand. If he stays healthy, he can certainly bump up that statistic. And that means more balls sailing over fences for the Yanks.
It just wouldn’t be a smart thing to get rid of him, even if the Yankees could. And, by the way, they probably can’t.
He’s got a no-trade clause.
Sure, he can waive it. But players generally void out the no-trades in part or in whole because, A) they’re unhappy with their manager and teammates or, B) they want to go to a contender.
The contender bit is out. A-Rod’s already on a perennial contender that comes complete with legend and lore. As for his manager and teammates, they could probably do with a little less of the me-first attitude. And, assuming Rodriguez indeed had a few choice, closed-door words for Joe Girardi over those benchings, both player and manager could probably do without each other for a while.
But none of that equals trade, for a couple of good reasons. Rodriguez doesn’t need nor seek friendship from males who wear pinstripes. He’d rather have the fame that accompanies even fading stars in New York. Certain types of women dig power and fame big-time, and it’s no secret that A-Rod has an appetite for all those things.
The biggest thing that will keep him here, though, is that $114 million he’s due over the next five years. The money flow will end just about the time he breaks Bonds’ record, providing the home run numbers re-track. Until then, Brian Cashman would have to eat a major part of that number to unload him.
It might still have been possible had Rodriguez been regarded as the guy who could take a team over the top. But given his injury of last year, and projections of respectable, but considerably lower numbers from his prime years, he has become a player who can HELP a team win. He’s not going to turn the Marlins or Angels into World Series contenders by himself anymore.
Who’s going to pay that kind of money for that kind of player?
Probably nobody, though Cashman says he’ll gladly listen to anything that comes down the pike.
He shouldn’t wait by the phone, though. He has to know Rodriguez is virtually untradeable, even if he would waive the no-trade clause. It’s just too much to take on that contract for anyone who’ll turn 38 next season.
So, to all the A-Rod haters out there, go ahead and boo. He’s going to be around Yankee Stadium for a while longer.
Do you buy the idea that A-Rod is untradeable? Be heard in the comments below…