Get Off The High Horse, Let A-Rod Play

The New York Yankees re-signed Chase Headley to a four-year deal today. That four year deal runs longer than the remainder of Alex Rodriguez‘s contract. Yes, you may have forgotten, Alex Rodriguez is still a member of the Yankees. Headley, whom the Yankees acquired at the Trade Deadline last season, hit a combined 13 home runs and drove in 49 RBIs to go along with a .246 average between San Diego and New York. The last time Rodriguez had over 400 at bats was back in 2012, when he hit .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs. So then, can someone please explain to me why the Yankees just shelled out $13 million dollars a year to a third baseman who may not even be as good as one they already have?

It is because Rodriguez isn’t the 30 home run, 100 RBI threat he once was? Well as you get older, your production tends to decrease and if it doesn’t, well then you know what we tend to think. That’s the real reason though, right, because of A-Rod’s connection with Biogenesis and that whole Miami situation. I mean, A-Rod was arrogant and lied about his involvement, so who would want him back? Oh wait, Ryan Braun did the same thing when he failed his drug test and yet he was playing for the Brewers last season. Maybe it was because A-Rod was suppose to be the greatest player we’ve ever seen, posting numbers that would eclipse the likes of Willie Mays and Babe Ruth. Then again, there was Barry Bonds who never actually failed a test, but the overwhelming assumption was Bonds was guilty of taking something, thus tarnishing his numbers and legacy. Yet, Bonds played out his career and was even most recently welcomed back to AT&T park for a ceremony. Ahh of course, it must be the injuries, considering Rodriguez has needed surgery on both of his hips. Wait, didn’t the Marlins just give the largest contract in North American sports history to a player that most recently got hit in the eye with a fastball?

In reality, the only player that has ever been punished to the extent that A-Rod is staring at currently is Pete Rose. Rose, as we all know, bet on baseball and has been banned from ever appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot as a result. Yet, the moral police have made the decision that betting on the sport is not of the same disgust as taking PEDs and thus “cheating” the sport, so we outcry out support for Rose getting into the Hall of Fame.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Yankees fan, nor am I a Rodriguez supporter, but I do live in a reality based world. There was a “crime” and therefore a punishment and the time for that punishment has been served. When you’re released from prison, you’re once again a member of society; we don’t throw you back in because we don’t want to deal with you. That’s what the Yankees are trying to do, cover up all the holes and hope that A-Rod is doesn’t show up and is forgotten about. The problem is, that isn’t going to happen.

In a couple of months, Spring Training will be upon us and so will A-Rod reporting to camp. The Yankees may be dreading this, but the truth of the matter is, the Yankees have put themselves in this mess. They speak about A-Rod as if he’s a mythical creature of some being, only heard of and not seen, and thus we don’t know if he’s real. They’ve never been open about what their plans with him are – do they actually want to use him and play him or would they prefer he just go away?- Plus, if it’s the latter, then why not buy him out or try and work out a settlement where the Yankees rid themselves of him and Rodriguez is free to do whatever he chooses, whether it’s to go try and find someone else to play for or just fade off in the sunset. They’re the Yankees, it’s just money right? It wouldn’t be the first or last time the Yankees have flushed money down the drain.

The thing is, there’s no reason to think that if A-Rod gets his 500+ at bats, he can’t be a 20 home run, 80 RBI guy. Those numbers, by the way, would be better than the numbers of Pablo Sandoval this past season, who just signed with the Red Sox for $19 million a year as the best free agent third baseman. You may believe that A-Rod isn’t healthy and that could be true, but how do you ever find out if he doesn’t go out there and play? You probably also believe that the remaining money he’s owed is outrageous and no one would disagree with you, but they signed him to the contract knowing his age at the back-end and regardless of whether he plays or not, the money is still owed to him.

I get that most of the baseball community wants A-Rod to carry around this scarlet letter of sorts and wear it for the rest of his career. There’s no problem with that, except that the point of the letter is to have it seen and be a sign of public humiliation, something that can’t be done if he sits on the bench or is essentially banished with no cause. Baseball has a history that is far from squeaky clean from rigged games, to corked bats, to the numerous amount of illegal pitches you want to come up with. For decades, all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century, players have looked for that edge – the way to get the better of their opponents and the game. Today, that edge happens to be PEDs, whether we like it or not. There have been procedures put in place and punishments established for those who get caught. Yet, once the punishment is served, the player returns with a chance to redeem himself and prove everyone wrong. We’ve seemingly let every other player who has looked for an edge over the years get a pass, so why not A-Rod? Whether he has anything left or not, time will tell, but the only way to find out is to let him play.

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