The Alex Rodriguez Era in the Bronx officially comes to an end on Friday when Slappy plays his last game for New York and will be unconditionally released following the game.
His days as a player are clearly behind Rodriguez, and the Yankees are in complete rebuild mode. As of right now, they are on the hook for $27 million in salary through next season. It was clear the team had to dump him, and try to find the best to it for all concerned.
It was pretty much a farce of a press conference yesterday, with GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi praising Slappy to the skies. (Where was principal owner Hal Steinbrenner while all of this was going on? He was the one who ultimately pulled the plug.) A-Rod has sat on the bench since July 22nd, and the fact that he sat last week against the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he has enormous numbers against lifetime, was all you needed to know about what the Yankees were thinking about him.
He "retires" on Friday, and gets to go home and return as a special instructor next season, while collecting every cent of the $27 million still owed him. And that is clearly the most important thing to him, make no mistake about it. (Forget him coming up four home runs short of 700. I'm sure that won't keep him up nights after he leaves.)
It's interesting his last game is on Friday. I'm sure they came to that date because it allows a build up this week for additional ticket sales and TV ratings. How many empty seats would have been in the Bronx for two teams (NY vs.Tampa Bay) going nowhere this Friday night?
And those three games before his last one will be played by the Yankees at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. It will be mighty interesting to see if Red Sox management will even acknowledge Slappy's retirement. You know the fans will let him know how they feel.
I checked in with some my friends on Facebook and Twitter and tried to gauge how they felt about Rodriguez' Yankee departure. I think you can some it up in one sentence: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." Of course, there was an exception.
In many ways, the Alex Rodriguez story is a tragic tale. A guy with a ton of talent, who made some really awful decisions and went down some bad roads. "A million dollar swing with a ten cent head" comes to mind. He simply ruined his career and reputation by dabbling in PEDs, and earned a year's suspension for the Biogenesis mess he got involved in. I can't EVER see him being enshrined at Cooperstown. Even while both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to increase their support year-by-year in the Hall of Fame balloting, I can't see A-Rod getting much support at all. You have to wonder if he'll even get 5% of the vote when he first becomes eligible in 2022.
As Red Sox fans, we all remember how Rodriguez was nearly traded to the Sox in late 2003, and he badly wanted to play at Fenway. But the players union wouldn't allow him to restructure his deal to allow the trade to happen (and remember, Jon Lester would have gone to Texas in that deal!), so he was eventually dealt to New York the following February.
I remember the media crowing the day the deal was done, about how the Yankees had one-upped the Sox yet again. I reminded all my friends that New York had just acquired a very good bat, while trading another very good bat away (Alfonso Soriano) and to keep in mind "A-Rod can't pitch."
Some times, the best deals are the ones you don't make.
And here's A-Rod, reminding everyone how many more World Series the Red Sox have won over his team since his time in the Bronx began in 2004:
Adios, Slappy, and we in Red Sox Nation thank you for Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Always.