From the New York Yankees perspective, this could all have been avoided.
When the Texas Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees in 2004, he was still playing with his initial record-setting 10-year, $252 million contract that was signed back in 2000, with the Rangers paying $67 million of the $179 million remaining on the deal. All the Yankees had to do was let him play out the remainder of his contract, which would have ended back in 2010, and Rodriguez would have been off their hands.
They would still would have won a World Series with him in 2009, and then they could have just let A-Rod walk. This headache with Biogenesis, A-Rod appealing his suspension and ultimately getting suspended for the whole 2014 season would not have been their problem. This nightmare would have been another team’s problem, or if no team wanted to sign Rodriguez, just his problem.
However, Rodriguez became a huge headache for the Yankees when they decided to give him a 10-year, $275 million contract extension back in 2007. That was a crucial mistake by the Yankees.
The saying goes that hindsight is 20-20, but even when the Yankees extended A-Rod back in 2007, it did not make any sense for a couple of reasons. First, he was going to be 35 once his contract ended in 2010. Even if the Yankees did not extend him, Rodriguez was already past is prime.
Giving a 32-year-old baseball player a 10-year contract that ends when he’s 42 just does not make any sense, even with the track record A-Rod had going into the 2008 season. At that point, he was still hitting 30 home runs or more a year and was considered one of the best players in the game. However, athletes do not hold up well once they hit 36 or 37. That is when they generally start falling off, which is what A-Rod has done.
No matter what your talent level is, artificial or natural, players decline. Age always wins.
The second reason why the Yankees can blame themselves is also related to the contract extension. Simply put, they outbid themselves to keep Rodriguez on the team. Yes, A-Rod could have opted out of his contract, but no team was going to sign him for the money he wanted. The Yankees could have probably added a couple years to the contract at $27 or $28 million a year as a realistic scenario without having to worry about a team competing with them.
He was simply worth too much money, especially back in 2007. At worst in this hypothetical scenario, the Yankees would have had Rodriguez on the roster to 2012 and then would have been done with him for good. Instead, the Yankees outbid themselves with an absurd 10-year contract and now have to deal with this nightmare of a situation.
As they say, you live and learn. It is safe to say that the Yankees have learned.