Posted on January 6, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
It appears the playing career for Alex Rodriguez really is over. When Rodriguez was given his unconditional release by the New York Yankees last August, the door was left slightly ajar for a return to the field. There were even rumors that the Miami Marlins might try to pick up him for the stretch run last season, but those never came to fruition. Before any chatter could start about Rodriguez perhaps attempting to play for a big league team in 2017, the 41-year old appears to have squashed such an idea.
Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez, told the New York Daily News that A-Rod has no intention of playing this year and will instead honor his agreement with the Yankees to spend 2017 serving as a “special advisor” to team owner Hal Steinbrenner. “Alex is enjoying his time off and looking forward to heading to spring training to work with the young guys as he has said all along,” Berkowitz says.
The news isn’t exactly surprising based on A-Rod’s performance last season, hitting just .200 and struggling to the point of the Yankees breaking ties with him before the end of the season. But considering the perception that Rodriguez was forced out by the Yankees with a year left on his contract, there was always the possibility he would attempt to play one more season so he could go out on his terms, or at least better terms.
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The Yankees are paying Rodriguez his salary of more than $20 million this season, even if he doesn’t play. Theoretically, any team could sign him and pay him the major league minimum, knowing the Yankees are on the hook for the rest of his contract. Of course, power hitters who were actually productive last season are having a hard time finding work at a suitable price this offseason, and so there may not have been much interest in A-Rod even if he wanted to attempt a comeback.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirms that he’s heard nothing from A-Rod’s camp about wanting to play in 2017, although the GM did say, “Alex is also free to do as he pleases, if he wants to try and keep playing.” Cashman also acknowledges that Rodriguez is likely to want to move on from baseball. “I’m sure he’s going to have a lot of opportunities in broadcasting, in business. People will be tugging him in a lot of different directions,” said Cashman. Rodriguez has served as an analyst on Fox during the past two postseasons.
Of course, there’s a good chance Rodriguez will make an appearance at Yankees spring training in his role as an advisor. “We welcome the opportunity for him to impact our young players at spring training. Alex would work directly for Hal. All the parameters have been vocalized and they remain the same from last year,” Cashman said about A-Rod’s involvement with the team this spring. When the club cut ties with Rodriguez last year, Cashman praised the veteran for having a great eye for spotting talent and the ability to work with young players, two things he may do this year in his advisory role with the Bronx Bombers.
What exactly Rodriguez will be doing in that advisory role isn’t clear, but we know it doesn’t involve playing, and we now know with almost complete certainty that A-Rod won’t be suiting up for a major league club this year. His farewell game last August really was the end of his career and the end of an era, as Rodriguez has no plans of attempting to play in 2017.