Monday, October 29, 2007

A-Rod Opts Out

It's seemingly official, according to ESPN.com.

My quick take: While some have suggested that this is a dumb, or at least very premature move by Rodriguez given that he's likely to get a better offer from the Yankees than anyone else given the Rangers' subsidy on any extension he takes, I think this truly is a situation where money isn't everything. Yes I know that saying such a thing about A-Rod and Boras is to ignore everything we know about them, but I also think that everyone is underestimating just how much crap A-Rod has gone through in the past year or two.

For years he has been told that he is not a "true Yankee" and was booed by his home crowd as recently as this past April. If he was never a Yankee, tabloid reporters never would have been following him in Toronto. His wife never would have been humiliated (and she never would have been called out for her choice of t-shirts). If he's never a Yankee, about 100,000 words aren't written calling his character, fortitude, clutchiness, and manliness into question. In short, A-Rod's life has been pretty damn miserable in New York for the past few years, even if much of that misery was brought on himself.

Against that backdrop, I can very easily see a person a fraction as sensitive as A-Rod is typically made out to be saying "I am the best ballplayer in the world, and no matter what I do here, I am still going to be a target. F*ck them. I don't need them. I don't want them. I'll hit my 50 homers in SoCal or Detroit or someplace, go home each night without anyone tailing me, and wake up each morning without having to read I'm a loser. Scott -- opt out now."

And you know what? I don't blame him.

5 comments:

Osmodious said...

Well, there is something here to consider...who can afford to pay for this guy? Oh, and will conditions in THAT city be any better?

The obvious #1 destination is Boston...and THAT media circus makes NY look positively restrained. The #2 is probably Chicago...Lou has been a mentor to ARod for quite a while now. But with what they laid out last off-season, coupled with the $30m+ for ARod, expecations will be quite high.

Who else is there? The Dodgers? Maybe. The Mets? And replace who...Wright or Reyes? Not going to happen. Who does that leave? The Yankees...and they won't go after him now that he opted out.

By the way, did you read the ludicrous reason that Boras quoted for ARod opting out? "Alex's decision was one based on not knowing what his closer, his catcher and one of his statured pitchers was going to do," Boras said. "He really didn't want to make any decisions until he knew what they were doing."

Is he KIDDING? First off...they are not HIS closer, catcher and statured pitcher...he ain't the owner, GM or manager of the team (or even a FAN, for that matter). Second, he's looking for a 7 year extension or 10 years overall, and he's supposedly bound by what happens with guys who have 2 MAYBE 3 years left in them? Puh-lease. It's the kind of BS reason that non-baseball people and those unfamiliar with the Yankees MIGHT buy, but it is so transparently a load of hooey that I would be surprised. Then again, Boras has been saying a LOT of ludicrous things the past few weeks (like ARod was broken up about Joe's ouster...he didn't get along with Joe).

Say what you want about the NY media, and rabid fan base, they know how to create legends. Somewhere deep down, ARod knows that his legacy was best served by being a Yankee. Think about it...how many of the truly Great were mercenaries? Besides Reggie Jackson can you even name one?

Shyster said...

I think he goes to Anaheim. Seriously. Vlad moves to DH, Chone Figgins slides into the OF, and A-Rod takes over third. Moreno will spend the money to get him, I think. The atmosphere is way more to what seems to be his liking.

Also -- last week, Boras and A-Rod had their little three day pow wow in SoCal. Call me crazy, but I can't help but think a wink-wink deal was made over cocktails somewhere. Tampering? Sure, but who gets in trouble for tampering in MLB?

Osmodious said...

Good points. I had considered that as well, but perhaps put too much credence into Arte Moreno's prior statements against tying too much payroll down with one player. Another point is that Moreno has also stated that his preference for Latino players (which stands to reason considering the huge Latino community in southern CA).

One point a lot of the analysts miss, though, is that ARod isn't 'just' a 3rd baseman. He was a premier shortstop, and Boras has mentioned in the past ARod's desire to return to the position. Of course, he is older and has less range than earlier, but might still believe he can play that position better.

That certainly opens up the door to a few other teams (Detroit needs a shortstop, as do the Red Sox...and the Mets could move Reyes to 2nd more easily than Wright).

It is going to be quite interesting to see how this all shakes out...

Shyster said...

Agreed. I am skeptical of a move back to SS -- so rarely does anyone move back left on the defensive spectrum; Chipper Jones being the only recent example I can think of -- but if anyone can do it, he can.

Detroit would work for third base too, though. Inge can revert to supersubdom. I wouldn't rule out the Dodgers or Cubs either.

Darkhorse: Seattle. I know that didn't end well, but he played well there and they may be willing to spend some money (though I would advise strongly that they should focus on pitching). The Giants will probably make a bid too, though I can't see that really working for either side. ARod because he's going to at least want to pretend he's looking to be on a winner, SF because they at least want to pretend that they aren't simply looking for a gate attraction to replace Bonds.

Pete Toms said...

I thought A Rod would return to the Yankees, primarily because they have more dough than anybody ( particularly with new stadium in 09 ) plus the advantage / incentive of the Rangers chipping in.

So, I'm wrong. I have to assume it's not about money because I haven't read that the Yankees even submitted a dollar figure / # of yrs to Boras.

Has A Rod realized that he's not the best fit in a baseball mad city? I agree Craig, maybe he's concluded that he's better off on the less media intense West Coast, tough to argue with his performance in Seattle. I know this is completely unscientific but I never got the impression watching him in pinstripes that he was really enjoying himself, which isn't to say that he didn't pretend to at times.

I agree, at this point Anaheim is the front runner, Globe & Mail writer Jeff Blair speculated ( perhaps others did as well ) when Stoneman stepped aside that it was in part motivated by the pending Boras / A Rod negotiation.

We all see the Giants and Cubs mentioned frequently but I think the Mets make a lot of sense. It has nothing to do with Wright & Reyes and everything to do with the Mets moving into Citifield in 09 ( and competing with the Yanks new stadium also opening in 09 ) and their somewhat new RSN. The Mets are entering the same stratosphere as the Evil Empires. Attendance has gone way up the past handful of years and along with Citifield & SNY ( is it SNY? ) they are big time heavyweights now. But is A Rod sick of the Yankees or sick of NYC or sick of both?

The amount of media / blog attention that A Rod is generating the same day / day after a Red Sox World Series win is stunning. More than anything maybe that is the story the past 24 hrs.