Alex Rodriguez has had a brutally embarrassing month. The New York Yankees third baseman, once considered one of the best players in Major League Baseball (and paid like it, with a league-high $275 million contract), went 0-for-18 this postseason against right-handed pitchers (including 12 strikeouts), allegedly flirted with female fans in the stands, and was humiliatingly benched by manager Joe Girardi. After the Yankees were swept out of the playoffs Thursday thanks to an 8-1 clobbering at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, the listless New York squad had earned an ignominious record: Lowest team batting average in a single postseason (.188). With captain Derek Jeter out with an ankle injury, New York fans were hoping A-Rod would rise to the occasion… and he failed miserably. Now, those same fans are openly calling for the aging slugger's head. But don't expect A-Rod to flee the Bronx anytime soon. Here, four reasons he's likely staying put:
1. No one would take him
A-Rod still has an absurd $114 million left on the final five years of his contract, says Reid Forgrave at Fox Sports. The Yankees would have to pay off an enormous amount of that salary to make a deal work, and even then, who would take him? Rodriguez's hometown Miami Marlins are a rumored destination, but why would they want a "37-year-old admitted performance-enhancing-drug cheat who is well on the downside of the career?"
2. A-Rod apparently doesn't want to leave
Remember this key fact, says Danny Knobler at CBS Sports: "It doesn't just take two sides to make a deal. It takes three." Even if the Yankees wanted to dump him and another team wanted him, A-Rod still has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he can veto any trade. And Rodriguez sounds like he wants to stay in New York, promising that he'll "come back with a vengeance." Of course, as with everything A-Rod says, "you can choose to believe it or not believe it."
3. The Yankees may think A-Rod can bounce back
The Yankees need to "figure out how much A-Rod has left in the tank," says Jonah Keri at Grantland. As recently as this summer, Rodriguez was actually playing decently. Yes, his stats were "a far cry from the A-Rod of old, but still well-above-average numbers for a starting third baseman." Then he broke his hand after getting hit by a pitch, and since, he's looked lost at the plate. The key question is whether A-Rod's playoff misery was due to the "rust and disrupted timing from being out," or whether the "37-year-old former superstar" simply "can't catch up to good fastballs anymore and never will again."
4. The Yankees know their woes are bigger than A-Rod
"Rodriguez was hardly alone in his struggles as the Tigers swept the Yankees out of the playoffs, joining Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher to form a Voltron of playoff incompetence," says Keri. Cano was an extraordinarily bad 3-for-40. Granderson struck out 16 times and had just three hits. Swisher managed only five hits. "A-Rod got all the attention, being benched three times in this postseason," says the Associated Press, "but up and down the lineup New York did not get it done."