There is a chance, albeit slimmer than the slimmest of the slim, that New York Yankees pariah and perpetual punching bag Alex Rodriguez could be traded this offseason. You can call me crazy, or call me an idiot, or call me a beautiful little snowflake with the naïve attitude of a hopeful child who falls asleep by the chimney on Christmas Eve—but I think the Yankees could figure out a way to do it.
Here ‘s how…
Vernon Wells will make $21M this year, and $21M next year. When the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded for him prior to the 2011 season, they not only gave up slugging catcher Mike Napoli, but also agreed to pick up the remaining balance of Wells’ contract, which, including 2011 and 2012, was worth a grand total of $86M. In return, Wells gave them a Gray Matthews Jr-esque slash of: .222/.258/.409 over 748 AB’s. He has also boasted a .667 OPS across two seasons. It’s safe to say that Wells’ contract is the worst in the baseball.
So, how does this apply to Alex Rodriguez?
Well, A-Rod currently has $114MM left on his contract, give or take a few million bucks (smell the sarcasm?) he could receive in potential bonuses for hitting home run milestones 660 and 714. He could also receive bonuses for 755, 761 and 762, but let’s be honest—he won’t sniff those. And considering the Angels were – irrationality aside – willing to take on all of Wells’ contract without asking the Toronto Blue Jays to absorb any of the remaining money, is there a chance that another team would do the same with A-Rod’s contract? I think it’s much more reasonable to think that, unlike Wells, the Yankees will have to eat a significant portion of A-Rod’s contract – let’s say at least half – to entice a team into trading for him, but could a team take a flyer on Alex Rodriguez?
First, we need to examine the positives for a potential buyer.
Most importantly, A-Rod brings with him a marquee name, and will no doubt put butts into empty seats. Whether it’s to appreciate him or castigate him doesn’t matter. He can also still play the field (no pun intended); defensively, he is an average third basemen, and should be able to get more at-bats per season for a team that shuffles him between 3B and DH consistently. Also, looking at his last two seasons objectively (.274/.357/444 with a .809 OPS), when healthy, he can still be produce offensively. Sure, he may not be worth $10MM+ a year (or $11.4M to be precise) that his new team would be paying him, but he is a better bet than many declining players to hit .270, knock 20 home runs, and drive in around 80, while also playing okay defense. Keep in mind a guy like Alfonso Soriano, who was in a tailspin for the last two seasons, had a big power surge for the Chicago Cubs this season, and had plenty of teams courting him around the trade deadline. Also keep in mind that I am a better outfielder than Soriano, and I have two bad knees and three slip discs in my spine. So you never know what sort of crazy itch an owner will get at any given moment.
Now onto the negatives, which are very clear and foreign to nobody, except maybe my dog who doesn’t speak English very well.
– A-Rod has huge contract
– His skill-set is in steep decline
– He is as un-clutch as they come
– An accompanying media circus follows him wherever he goes
Again, this is all stuff we already know.
But then again, if we’re just throwing manure at the wall here, you could technically spin that last point into a positive one. There are definitely teams out there that would love to have some extra pop in their lineup along with some extra media attention. Why not? If you’re the owner of the Houston Astros or the Seattle Mariners, don’t you want to help remind fans that you haven’t been contracted? Also, Seattle could sell “reunion” t-shirts with A-Rod’s face plastered all over it. I’m pretty sure he left there on good terms, right?
And let’s not forget the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re always looking for a big star to add to their growing collection of misfit toys. Could A-Rod be another welcome addition? Is he friends with Magic Johnson? If not, can any of you make this happen? If so, call me: 212-867-5309.
In the end, Alex Rodriguez will probably still be a Yankee for the duration of his miserable contract, and he will continue to be a big fat target each time Fox pans to the Yankees dugout, showing him sitting there eating sunflower seeds and passing love notes to creeped-out teenagers in the crowd. Every time the Yankees fail to acquire a player because of “budget constraints” (stifles laughter), fingers will point to A-Rod eating up all of their “budget.”
But, and it is a huge “but”, stranger and more ridiculous things have happened. When in doubt, remember the name Vernon Wells. That name alone could keep the A-Rod trade rumors alive until his contract finally does expire in 2034.
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