Let me start off by saying what many of you already know -- I'm a Yankees fan. But, as most of my friends know, I'm a pretty realistic Yankees fan. I don't "expect" a World Series every year, I realize how amazing it is to go to the playoffs twelve straight years, I think Steinbrenner's been more of a detriment to the team than anything else, and, of course, I think ARod is far better than the idiot fans and media that have officially run him out of town.
A few thoughts here... and, as per my usual, I'll just meander through them.
For one thing, Scott Boras -- ARod's agent -- is a prick. However, he's sports agent and his sole job is to get his players the most money possible. If you look at it through that lens, it's understandable as to why he's the way he is. I still hate him, but I do get why he's who he is. It's his job, he's very good at it, and he wants to be successful and rich. Can't blame him for that. However, some of his comments in the wake of ARod opting out are just irresponsibly stupid. From the story I linked to above:
Boras said during a telephone interview that Rodriguez made his choice because he was uncertain whether Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte would return to the Yankees. Boras said it became clear that the others wouldn't make a decision by Rodriguez's deadline to opt out -- 10 days after the World Series.
"Alex's decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured pitchers was going to do," Boras said. "He really didn't want to make any decisions until he knew what they were doing."
Yes, I'm sure that's it. He's uncertain as to whether those three guys are coming back so that's why he opted out. It's insulting to everyone with at least fifteen working brain cells (this rules out Sox fans) to say this. Reports are that the Yankees are about to offer Rivera and Posada three-year extensions and there's an option that can be picked up by the Yankees on Pettitte who had a very good year. So Boras is full of sheet here. Just admit you want to test the free agent market -- at least we could respect your honesty.
Another point is that this contributed to ARod's MVP year this year, I think. I think he decided in Spring Training that he was opting out and so he knew this was his last year in New York, thus he really didn't care what anyone thought anymore. He worked hard on his game and had a monster season, all the while knowing he was out of here. Every time somebody asked me what I thought he would do, I said I thought he was going to leave
. I didn't want it to be true and I think the Yankees are much
worse off without him, despite what the "chemistry" people think. I wish him good luck, although it's hard to root for a guy who is so rich he's able to void the remainder of a contract that would have paid him $72 million. I mean, think
about that. $72 million just to play out the rest of his contract. A contract that has, up to now, paid him $180 million. Simply amazing to think about.
I do understand the idea behind a free market economy and capitalism and I realize that, theoretically, he is worth that and more. If he stayed with the Yankees and broke the records he'll probably break and the Yankees continue to be successful with him... in a new park... in New York... well, the millions, if not billions, that the franchise will rake in will mean that paying him a couple hundred mill isn't all that silly. He's a solid investment.
Of course the Steinbrenners are posturing and saying ARod's unequivocally done in the Bronx.
"It's clear he didn't want to be a Yankee," Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News. "He doesn't understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field.
"I don't want anybody on my team that doesn't want to be a Yankee."
Now, as much as I tend to hate the Steinbrenner bluster, I can't argue with this. The whole notion that ARod wants to win and isn't sure what "direction" the Yankees are going in -- something Boras was quoted as using as a reason for this last week -- is completely ludicrous. The Yankees' direction? Upward. They want to win and win at all costs and at all times. When did anyone give an indication that this changed? As I said, I have to agree with the sentiment that if ARod wasn't even willing to meet to listen to a contract extension offer from the Yankees (which apparently, he wasn't) then he clearly doesn't want to be there. And that sucks but oh well.
There was talk by Joe Buck during the World Series last night that maybe the Yankees would offer a free agent deal to Mike Lowell of the Red Sox to come to New York (the club where he started) to play third base. While I think that's not a bad idea, it's still a huge step down in overall ability. But I would have no problem rooting for Mike Lowell. He's on my list of Red Sox players that I do not hate.
Whatever happens, ARod will continue to be the highest-paid player in baseball. If he leaves the Yankees as it appears now forgone that he will, it'll be interesting to see what guys like Jeter and Posada say about him once he's gone. And for the Yankees, who made the playoffs largely due to Rodriguez' monster season, the road's about to get harder, not easier.