In case you’ve been in a coma, Alex Rodriguez has once again taken over the media landscape. You can find him on just about every network and see his face on the front and back page on any given day. And once again, it is for all the wrong reasons. I know the saying goes “Any publicity is good publicity”, but I beg the differ in this situation. For a team that is coming off a disappointing 2013 season, missing the playoffs for only the second time in the last 20 years, the Yankees should be looking for a clean slate in 2014.
AROD brought his circus on the road with him everywhere he went last year. He has now surpassed Barry Bonds and McGuire as the poster boy for Steroids in baseball, if not all of sports. His never-ending tabloid battle reached an all-time high in recently, after an arbitrator ruled him out for the entire 2014 season. Did anyone really expect him to walk away quietly from this? He instantly filed an injunction in federal court against Major League Baseball and is now suing his very own players union, claiming they “engaged in numerous acts that were arbitrary, capricious and taken in bad faith”. It official, AROD is now fighting this battle alone.
The biggest blow the Yankees look to overcome isn’t Alex Rodriguez, but rather how to overtake the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. If you remember just two years ago, the 2012 Red Sox season was more than a forgettable one. They finished in last place and had a season full of turmoil with Bobby Valentine leading the helm. There were grumblings of fights between players and the manager, the now infamous “chicken and beer” incident in their clubhouse and faced an onslaught of scrutiny from the media every step of the way. What did the Red Sox do? They wasted no time firing Bobby Valentine, the face of their new-found negative image and brought in guys like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes. This revamped their clubhouse culture and changed how the team was viewed both on and off the field, giving them the fresh start they so desperately needed.
Now I would say the Yankees are trying to follow in their footsteps. It has been a busy off-season bringing in Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, all of which are hard-nosed players who will bring a different “feel” to this roster. But if the Yankees truly want a fresh start, they need to move on from the face of their own negativity, AROD. No matter what happens in the courtroom these next few months, they will be answering questions regarding him the entire season. It doesn’t matter if he is in uniform or not, he will still be in the news on a daily basis, making headlines for anything and everything, is that headache really worth it? As long as he is under a contract, he have an impact on this franchise.
I realize it’s easy for me to sit here and say just cut AROD and get it over with already, considering it isn’t my money being spent. Fair enough, I can’t argue with that. But assuming this 2014 suspension holds up, he will still be owed $61 million, before incentives, for the 2015-17 seasons. In my opinion, I feel that $61 million is best spent on ensuring he will be nowhere near this franchise. Let him go out and be someone else’s distraction, his numbers already show his production is on a steady decline and he will be 39-years-old by the time he is eligible to return. Sure they might suffer in 2014 with a hole at third base, but he wasn’t going to be here anyway. These are the New York Yankees, there’s no way you can tell me they won’t be able to find an able replacement by the start of the 2015 season.
The Yankees are the greatest franchise in all of sports, there’s no arguing that, but they are known for their off the field dramas as much as they are their World Series titles. From George Steinbrenner vs Billy Martin…Martin vs Reggie Jackson…Steinbrenner vs Dave Winfield…Steinbrenner vs MLB…Record breaking contracts … and now Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees always find a way to keep themselves in the spotlight. But now this story has grown old and if you want to give this team the best chance to win and earn the respect of america along the way, cut the most hated man in baseball.
This soap opera has run its course and I, along with millions of others, am ready for this program to be cancelled.