UPDATE: Wednesday, October 17 at 8:33 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to ESPN New York reporters Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand, the buzz surrounding Rodriguez to Miami has some merit:
According to the source, Loria said in his conversation about A-Rod with Levine, "Alex is Mr. Miami; it would be great if he played here for us."
To which Levine is said to have replied, "You can have him."
In the report, Brian Cashman maintains that all trade notions are false at this point. Rodriguez also responded to the whispers, stating:
I love the Yankees. I love this organization. My focus right now is to help this team come together and win a game. Do not allow all this negativity and questions and gossip stuff or this crap or that crap, let's just focus on winning a game and go from there ... What I will tell you is I hope nothing is going on like that at this point because our only focus, from top to bottom, is to win a baseball game right now.
This is going to take a long time to sort out, with all sorts of crazy rumors surfacing in the process.
Stay tuned for more updates as we wade through what's true and what's false surrounding baseball's aging multi-million dollar man.
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UPDATE: Wednesday, October 17 at 6:35 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Yankees GM Brian Cashman says a report of A-Rod discussions with Marlins is "not true."— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 17, 2012
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Keith Olbermann reported the following on his MLB Network blog:
Sources close to both organizations confirm the Yankees would pay all – or virtually all – of the $114,000,000 Rodriguez is owed in a contract that runs through the rest of this season and the next five. One alternative scenario has also been discussed in which the Yankees would pay less of Rodriguez’s salary, but would obtain the troubled Marlins’ reliever Heath Bell and pay what remains of the three-year, $27,000,000 deal Bell signed last winter.
The report also notes that Olbermann’s sources did not discuss “how serious the discussions have already gotten.”
Rodriguez is one of baseball’s most polarizing figures, and has come under a significant amount of scrutiny during the Yankees’ postseason run.
New York is currently down 3-0 in the American League Championship Series to the Detroit Tigers. Rodriguez went 1-for-7 at the plate in the first two games before being benched in the team’s most recent loss.
The 14-time All-Star was also pulled from the game in the eighth inning of the team’s Game 1 defeat, and according to Emily Smith of the New York Post, took the opportunity to flirt with two female fans sitting behind the dugout.
Regardless of the accuracy of this report, Rodriguez’s play in the postseason has been awful. He is batting just .130 and has been benched twice in eight games.
If the Yankees fail to win Game 4, they will suffer a sweep in a seven-game series for the first time since 1976, as noted by the New York Times’ David Waldstein. If they are swept, the monumental letdown could force the hand of New York's front office during the offseason.
Rodriguez, the highest-paid player in baseball despite being well past the prime of his career, has become the lightning rod for a team-wide offensive collapse. Considering his gargantuan contract and lack of production at the plate, New York's decision to engage in trade talks involving the former MVP is completely understandable.