Who Is the Face of Each American League Franchise?

Credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images North America

Credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images North America

New York Yankees
Alex Rodriguez, DH

I was half tempted to list Derek Jeter for the Face of the Yankees. That’s how weird things are in the Bronx right now. The Yankees are caught between eras, still looking for their new identity following the end of the “Core Four” era. Over the past decade, the Yankees have become very reliant on acquiring talent through the free-agent market, and have had very little success developing homegrown talent. The next wave is on its way, led by Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Aaron Judge, and Gregory Bird.

As the Yankees wait for those players (and maybe clear payroll to make a run at Bryce Harper), they are left with an odd collection of older players who do not come together to form a real team identity. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran hardly qualify as FoF material. Brett Gardner could perhaps be considered a candidate, but he was on the trading block earlier in the winter. Relievers Andrew Miller and Betances are dominant, but it takes a historically good reliever like Mariano Rivera to even warrant considering a bullpen arm a franchise face.

That leaves A-Rod.

In some ways, Rodriguez is the perfect face for the Yankees right now. He symbolizes what can happen when a franchise becomes too obsessed with collecting high-priced veterans instead of building up a roster from the farm system. A-Rod has been a lightning rod for criticism for most of his Yankees career, and he has come by that reputation honestly. For some reason, last year, he actually began to seem somewhat likable again. It was the Yankees, not Rodriguez, who made a big stink over the milestone home run bonuses. His analysis on Fox during the postseason was spot-on and better than most players are able to offer. The Yankees do not have many faces at this point who are worth marketing, but somehow Rodriguez has clawed his way back to that status.

Honorable Mention: Brett Gardner

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