Alex Rodriguez recently agreed to the outlines of a 10-year deal with the New York Yankees, worth an estimated $275 million.
The MVP third baseman is poised to make millions more if he breaks Barry Bonds' all-time career home run mark
Based on the conditions of the agreement, it's obvious that A-Rod didn’t receive any offer remotely close to that tendered by the Yankees, meaning he returned to the only place where he could get the maximum dollar.
That fact, coupled with the Yankees brass' original assertion that they wouldn’t negotiate with A-Rod if he opted out of his old contract, makes the deal one of the greatest in MLB history—for everyone.
Rodriguez and super-agent Scott Boras made themselves the focus of the baseball world by revealing that A-Rod would opt out of his contract during the fourth game of the World Series. After hearing the announcement, Hank Steinbrenner restated the Yanks’ position:
"We're not going to back down," the Boss' eldest son said. "It's goodbye."
I remember seeing that quote in the Daily News and hoping that a month later I'd be reading about A-Rod’s $350 million deal with the Yanks. Unfortunately, the deal isn’t quite worth $350 million—but he's still right where he belongs.
After Boras shopped his client around the majors and realized nobody would pay like the Yankees, Rodriguez reminded everybody that money was his chief concern—in case they'd forgotten about the $250 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers.
While A-Rod further sullied his already tarnished public image in returning to New York, the Yankees reminded the baseball world that they have the biggest payroll in the league by $70 million—and that there's a reason they're hailed as “The Evil Empire.”
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Yankee fans in the past eight months. They went from hating A-Rod while the Yankees lost game after game in early summer to praising him as one of the best ever when he carried the team back into the playoff picture. Rodriguez then turned from hero to villain by reminding Yankee fans why they hated him in the first place, as he went 4-15 with one RBI in New York's ALDS loss to Cleveland.
In the perspective of an optimistic Yankee fan, the team’s signing of A-Rod is a great thing, as it locks up the game’s greatest player for a decade. The Yankee faithful will shut their eyes to A-Rod's postseason track record until the time comes each October for him to shine...or sink further.
If Rodriguez and the Yankees continue to fail in the postseason, you can be sure he won’t finish out his entire contract in a Yankee uniform.
While some may take issue with A-Rod’s return to New York, the truth is there’s no better place for him. As non-Yankee fans, we can sit back and watch as Rodriguez either earns his plaque in Monument Park or finds himself finishing his Hall-of-Fame career with another team.