For every minute of Rodriguez's suspension, the Yankees are off the hook for money he is owed, but, naturally, they will look to save more in the aftermath of the punishment. While saving over $30 million on a $275 million investment seems like a boon for the Yankees organization, the rocky nature of the franchise's relationship with Rodriguez may lead towards a nasty, bitter and strange future determined in courtrooms and via buyouts rather than on the field via base hits.
According to the New York Post, Alex's camp attempted to negotiate a buyout with the Yankees on Saturday, two days prior to Bud Selig's historic ruling on the three-time MVP.
Now, with the 2013 and 2014 season hanging in the balance, Rodriguez will focus on an appeal. If he doesn't win, expect his future earning potential to become the most important part of the post-suspension plan.
From 2015 to 2017, Alex Rodriguez is owed $61 million on the back end of his 10-year deal from New York. Surely, both sides would, and likely should, move on from each other, but it's very unlikely A-Rod would accept less than a large portion of that sum just to walk away. After all, once a suspension is served, the embarrassment of returning can't be any worse than the scorn of being forced to leave baseball.
It's possible that New York would write him the check for $61 million, but a buyout conversation would lean heavily in the favor of Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees. If A-Rod chooses to save face, the Yankees could try to bully him into accepting less than half of what he's owed to move on from the organization he's been with since the winter of 2004.
If the future of A-Rod and the Yankees gets uglier than it already has become, the organization may be motivated to further alienate and belittle its former star by suing him for the money already paid out.
First and foremost, expect the Yankees to attempt to recoup the $6 million milestone bonuses attached to career home runs 660, 714, 755, 762 and 763. Heading into play Monday night in Chicago, Rodriguez sits at 647 home runs. While it's unlikely that A-Rod will hit 13 home runs down the stretch of 2013 in the midst of an appeal, he could go on a power surge, forcing the Yankees into writing a $6 million check.
When the Yankees and Rodriguez agreed to a 10-year, $275 million deal in the wake of the 2007 season, the American League MVP was considered the best player in the league, a great bet to shatter home-run records and, perhaps most importantly, a clean star.
While Barry Bonds' career was winding down, Rodriguez looked to provide the Yankees 50-plus home run production while chasing the new home run record. With attendance over four million at Yankee Stadium and YES Network ratings soaring, the Yankees were banking on Rodriguez's image as a clean star in the aftermath of the steroid era.
Just imagine the positive publicity that would've surrounded Rodriguez and the Yankees if he were to break home-run records, on the way to possibly exceeding 3,000 hits and collecting more RBI and runs than anyone in this history of the game—if he had still been clean.
Considering Rodriguez's age (38) and health (two surgically repaired hips), the idea of 700 career home runs seems far-fetched now, but that won't stop New York from going after its $6 million for the impending No. 660.
Furthermore, considering the icy nature between team and player, the idea of New York using Rodriguez's tarnished reputation, mostly due to his own transgressions, as a precipice for attempting to void the entire contract can't be ruled out.
Holding a case like that up in court will be difficult, but New York can argue that it signed a player who was clean and healthy, only to receive a fraud instead. While health issues are difficult to hold against an athlete, New York can look to make the case that Rodriguez's long-term steroid use eroded his body, nullifying the investment that it made in him prior to the 2008 season.
In a normal case, or, in other words, if Rodriguez weren't involved, the idea of a team looking to void a contract in this manner would be hard to imagine. Yet, the Yankees don't like Rodriguez and he knows it. Beyond needing each other in 2013, the next four years can become very, very tenuous between team and player.
If Rodriguez doesn't agree to a buyout sometime before 2015, look for the team to go after every last penny in an attempt to salvage what it can from a fallen star.
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